US, Spanish and Greek scientists win Prince Sultan water award

Updated 15 October 2014

US, Spanish and Greek scientists win Prince Sultan water award

Four research teams from the United States and individuals from Spain and Greece were announced as winners of the 6th Award of the Prince Sultan International Prize for Water.
The winners were announced during a meeting of the Prize Council in Riyadh on October 12, with PSIPW Council chairman Prince Khaled Bin Sultan presiding.
For Creativity, the prize worth SR1 million was split between the team of Dr. Eric F Wood and Dr. Justin Sheffield of Princeton University and the GPS Reflections Group led by Dr. Kristine M. Larson of University of Colorado, Boulder, which included Professor Eric Small (University of Colorado), Dr. Valery Zavorotny (NOAA) and Dr. John Braun of (UCAR).
The first team was awarded for inventing a sophisticated system for high-accuracy drought predictions at both regional and continental levels, while the other team was recognized for developing a new low-cost technique to measure soil moisture, snow depth, and water content.
Four individual researchers won prizes of SR500,000 each for their groundbreaking research regarding groundwater and its salinity in semi-arid areas, as well as detoxification process and methods of operating water resources systems.
The Surface Water Prize went to Dr. Larry Mays (Arizona State University) for his comprehensive work in surface water hydrology and water resources engineering.
Dr. Jesús Carrera Ramirez (Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research in Barcelona, Spain, won the Groundwater Prize “for his decisive contributions to the development of mathematical hydrogeology and transport modeling in groundwater systems.”
Bagging the Alternative Water Resources Prize was Dr. Polycarpos Falaras (National Center for Scientific Research, Athens, Greece), coordinator of the European Union’s CLEANWATER Project, for an “innovative and efficient water detoxification technology exploiting solar energy and nano-engineered titania photocatalysts in combination with nanofiltration membranes for the destruction of extremely hazardous toxins and pollutants in natural waters and water supplies.”
The Water Management & Protection Prize went to Dr. William W-G. Yeh (University of California, Los Angeles), “for developing of optimization models to plan, manage and operate large-scale water resources systems throughout the world.”
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz will sponsor the award ceremony for the Prince Sultan International Prize for Water in the first week of December 2015. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the launch of the Sixth International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environments, organized by the award authority, King Saud University and the Ministry of Water and Electricity.
Some 186 candidates from 47 countries competed for the award, including distinguished scientists and representatives of highly ranked international universities and scientific institutions worldwide.


Pentagon awards United Launch Alliance, SpaceX launch contracts

Updated 09 August 2020

Pentagon awards United Launch Alliance, SpaceX launch contracts

  • The two companies lay claim to billions of dollars in lucrative military contracts for a span of five years

WASHINGTON: The US Air Force said it awarded United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Elon Musk’s SpaceX $653 million in combined military launch contracts under the Pentagon’s next-generation, multibillion-dollar launch capability program.

The contracts are for launch service orders beginning in 2022 and allocate $337 million to ULA, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp., and $316 million to SpaceX for the first missions of roughly 34 total that the two rocket firms will support through 2027.

ULA will receive a contract for approximately 60 percent of those launch service orders using its next-generation Vulcan rocket, while Musk’s SpaceX, using its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, will receive approximately 40 percent, the Air Force’s acquisition chief Will Roper told reporters on Friday.

The awards are part of the Pentagon’s 2014 mandate from Congress to curb its dependency on rockets using Russia’s RD-180 engine and transition to US-made rockets for launching Washington’s most sensitive national security payloads to space.

The program, called National Security Space Launch Phase 2, is aimed at “building a competitive industry base that we hope doesn’t just help military and national security missions, but that helps our nation continue to compete and dominate in space,” Roper added.

“Today’s awards mark a new epoch of space launch thatwill finally transition the Department off Russian RD-180 engines,” Roper said in a statement.

The two companies lay claim to billions of dollars in lucrative military contracts for a span of five years that competitors Blue Origin, the space company of Inc. owner Jeff Bezos, and Northrop Grumman also competed for.

Blue Origin Chief Executive Bob Smith said in a statement he was “disappointed” in the Pentagon’s decision, adding that the company will continue to develop its heavy-lift New Glenn rocket “to fulfill our current commercial contracts, pursue a large and growing commercial market, and enter into new civil space launch contracts.”