Rocket Reality Check and Re-check
Rocket Reality Check, Alan Boyle’s report in yesterday’s Cosmic Log on plans for the X Prize Cup, was updated this afternoon. DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker told Alan the agency had been in discussions with the X Prize Foundation about sponsoring the “Vertical Takeoff Challenge X Prize,” but the discussion is on hold because of budget uncertainty. “At this time, DARPA will not sponsor any of the X Prize competitions.”
Alan also eXcised some stray words about the reason why Rocket Racing League’s prototype X-Racer may not fly at this year’s X Prize Cup. So if you read the story yesterday, read today’s version for a more accurate explanation from Rocket Racing chief Granger Whitelaw.
On the subject of reality checking, I saw Jim Benson, Founder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of SpaceDev at Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2006 conference in Las Vegas last week. X Prize’s Peter Diamandis has said that folks like SpaceDev would be interested in going for the prize, so I asked Jim if SpaceDev might be one of the not-yet-public contenders for Lunar Lander Challenge. The answer was no. SpaceDev is a too busy going for a COTS (Commercial Orbital Transport Services) award from NASA and working on other contracts to field a Lunar Lander Challenger.
And more reality checking: After posting the item about Masten Space’s name for its Lunar Lander Challenge ship — Trinity 1 — found on Race2Space.org, I asked Dave Masten what inspired the name.
The nearby historic location? “A lot of history in the area, some of the greatest physicists of the 20th century worked there,” Dave said. “But I’m not terribly fond of what was produced there, nor how it was produced.”
Is it a girl’s name, inspired by The Matrix movies? “She is my kind of girl,” Dave answered, “but The Matrix world is way down on my list of sci-fi to use as naming inspiration.”
Then why name it Trinity? Dave replied, “Actually, I think it was a placeholder that the web person forgot to remove.”
So… does this mean there’s another Lunar Lander Challenge team out there with a ship called Trinity 1?