Introducing: The N-Prize. The what? “The N-Prize is a challenge to launch an impossibly small satellite into orbit on a ludicrously small budget, for a pitifully small cash prize.”

First proposed on Halfbakery, the site for cooking up crazy ideas, the N-Prize has now become a serious endeavor.

The prize, of £9,999.99 sterling cash, will be awarded to the team that can successfully deliver a tiny satellite (with a mass of between 9.99 and 19.99 grams) into orbit for nine orbits. The cost of the ship itself (not including ground support or R&D) cannot exceed £999 (about US$1500).

Anyone who knows anything about rocketry and space knows how nearly impossible it is to insert something into orbit, on the amateur level, for this kind of money. But that’s not stopping folks from trying. The site currently lists 15 teams planning on competing.

Here’s an interview with N-Prize founder, Dr. Paul Dear.