Lunar Lander Challenged

One small step for NASA, One giant leap for the X Prize

Archive for July 2006

Lunar Lander Entreprenauts

Clark at RLV and Space Transport News noticed that science writer and entreprenaut investigator Michael Belfiore visited Armadillo Aerospace in Texas and made this observation:

Carmack’s getting serious about turning Armadillo from a band of dedicated amateurs into a profit-making company, and he’s already lining up some business deals that could mark a real turning point for the company, even apart from a win at the Lunar Lander Challenge.

Michael says he’ll visit Mojave Spaceport tomorrow, the new home of Masten Space Systems and longtime location of Interorbital Systems, so more Lunar Lander Challenge news may soon be Dispatched from the Final Frontier.

X Prize Foundation’s new name for the DARPA-funded Level 1 of Lunar Lander Challenge is the Vertical Rocket Challenge. This name is too bland to bear, so I’m just going to ignore it unless X Prize announces it’s adding a Horizontal Rocket Challenge to the roster of contests for X Prize Cup 2006.

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Written by Robin

July 9, 2006 at 1:47 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Centennial Challenges Update

Subscribers to the Centennial Challenges mail list received a newsletter today from Ken Davidian at NASA HQ. The headline CENTENNIAL CHALLENGES BREAKING NEWS: Lunar Lander Challenge Announced turned out to be the press release from the May 5 announcement.

The newsletter says the Centennial Challenges website has
been reorganized and updated. “Visit the site to see a current schedule of competitions and appearances.” The upcoming events section still seems a little dated: Spaceward‘s Tether Challenge and Beam Power Challenge are listed for August 4, while the newsletter and Table of Challenges say they will take place at Oct 20-21 at X Prize Cup in New Mexico. X Prize’s Lunar Lander Challenge isn’t on the list of upcoming events at all, so that can’t be right.

But then, neither is Spaceward’s newest Centennial Challenge, the The $250,000 Play-From-Home Mars Robotic Construction Challenge set to begin in 2007. Maybe to get on Centennial Challenges’ upcoming events lists, a contest’s rules must be finalized. Spaceward is nearing the end of its public comment process on the rulebook for Martian robo-builders. X Prize has not announced final rules for Lunar Lander Challenge, but they are rumored to eXist.

[Update: Lunar Lander Challenge Rules for Level 1 now called Vertical Rocket Challenge have been finalized. Team registration forms and rules are now available.]

On the other hand, CC’s upcoming events list does include MoonROX Challenge, the first prize announced by NASA, and the newsletter and Table of Challenges still count Florida Space Research Institute as an active prize management ally. However, the institute was recently voted out of existence by the Florida legislature, so the future of MoonROX Challenge is in question.

Full text of the newsletter follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robin

July 7, 2006 at 12:58 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Lunar Lander Challengers and Rocket Racers at NewSpace 2006

The top two contenders for Lunar Lander Challenge, Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems, will have exhibits on display at Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2006 conference in Las Vegas this month.

Also among the eXhibitors: XCOR Aerospace, builder of the Rocket Racing League’s prototype X-racer plane, and probably not a Lunar Lander Challenge contender at this time.

The conference begins on July 20, the 37th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Moon landing. The agenda keeps changing as speakers are added.

At lunch on Friday July 21, NASA’s Ken Davidian will run a mini-workshop to think up new Centennial Challenges. There may be an instant $1000 prize winner in the Business Plan Competition produced by Rich Pournelle of XCOR and entrepreneur Amaresh Kollipara.

Also, in spite of earlier dire warnings that the special conference room rate would expire on June 26, it seems that the $99 rooms in the Flamingo Las Vegas are still available to NewSpace 2006 attendees.

Written by Robin

July 1, 2006 at 7:02 pm

Posted in lunar lander