Lunar Lander Challenged

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Archive for September 2006

Video Prize for NASA’s Greatest Fan — Contest Ends Friday – Only First 1500 Entries Accepted

The contest opens at 8 a.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 18, 2006, and closes at midnight on Friday, Sept. 22, 2006. Only the first 1500 entries will be accepted.

Looking for NASA’s Greatest Fan


Are you serious about space travel? Or perhaps you’re a fanatic for flight? Maybe you’re passionate about the planets? Are you eager for exploration?

NASA’s Greatest Fan Video Contest.

NASA is looking for video entries from the public to determine who deserves the title: NASA’s Greatest Fan.

NASA and WIRED Magazine are teaming up to find — and reward — “NASA’s Greatest Fan.” The agency is holding a video contest, and one deserving winner and guest will receive a free trip to Kennedy Space Center. There, they will be treated as VIPs at an upcoming space shuttle launch.

Video entries should show why their creators deserve the title of “NASA’s Greatest Fan.” The videos should demonstrate a passion for NASA and its programs, such as human spaceflight, space exploration, aeronautics, and space and Earth science. The videos cannot be longer than 30 seconds, or larger than two megabytes. They must also be appropriate for all audiences. The contest is open to U.S. residents only. Videos that do not meet those requirements will be disqualified. Entrants must be between the ages of 13 and 24.

It’s not enough for the videos to be good; they also have to be submitted quickly. The contest opens at 8 a.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 18, 2006, and closes at midnight on Friday, Sept. 22, 2006. Only the first 1500 entries will be accepted.

Related Resources
+ NASA’s Greatest Fan Contest Web site

+ NASA’s Greatest Fan Contest Rules and Regulations
Nine finalists will be selected by a team of NASA judges, and posted on the NASA Web site for online voting from Sept. 27-30. The video entries of the nine finalists will be featured at WIRED Magazine’s NextFest technology showcase at the Javitz Convention Center in New York City from Thursday, Sept. 28-30. Visitors to NextFest will be given the opportunity to vote on-site from the Exploration Pavilion.

Through the partnership with WIRED, the winner and a guest will receive free travel and hotel accommodations for the trip to Florida. They will attend launch briefings and special tours with other VIP guests. The winner and guest will also be able to watch the shuttle launch from an upclose viewing area.

This contest is designed to promote awareness and understanding of NASA’s activities, and encourage new generations of youth to explore the impact of space, science and technology on our world.

NASA has an ongoing tradition of investing in the nation’s education programs, with a major education goal of attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. To compete effectively for the minds, imaginations and career ambitions of America’s young people, NASA is focused on engaging and retaining students in education programs to encourage their pursuit of educational disciplines critical to NASA’s future engineering, scientific and technical missions.

Written by Robin

September 19, 2006 at 10:26 am

Posted in lunar lander

Return of da Vinci Project to X Prize Cup

News from Brian Feeney’s da Vinci Project.

The da Vinci Project to showcase new manned spaceflight hardware design at this years XPRIZE Cup in New Mexico

Toronto, Ont. – Sept. 18, 2006 – The da Vinci Project is pleased to announce that it will be participating in this years XPRIZE Cup in Las Cruces New Mexico October 20th and 21st. This will be the second year for the da Vinci Project at the XPRIZE Cup and marking ten years in a row that it has participated in major XPRIZE activities.

“We will be show casing a new design at this years XPRIZE Cup said Brian Feeney, Team Leader of the da Vinci Project. We also have some major announcements concerning our commercial manned space flight business initiatives and the new design reflects the space flight style of hardware we intend to bring to the suborbital space tourism market.”

The XPRIZE and Cup series have been instrumental in the inspiration of private manned flights to space. The da Vinci Project is a leading contender to be the second private group in the world to complete a manned sub orbital flight to space.

“We’re proud to have been associated with the XPRIZE and the Cup series since 1996 said Brian Feeney. The da Vinci Project has had a significant role in the XPRIZE and will continue to be a prime leader in the manned space flight field.”

The da Vinci Project will be rolling out its commercial manned spaceflight plans starting at the XPRIZE Cup and throughout the fall of 2006.

About The da Vinci Project

The da Vinci Project’s was a leading contender for the Ansari X PRIZE, the international “New Race to Space(R)”. The Project is backed by a core of volunteers from many walks of life and disciplines. Aerospace engineers, experts in project management and finance contribute their time and expertise towards the realization of the next step in Human discovery. The Project’s novel rocket design will be launched from the world’s largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 70,000 feet (24,400 meters).

For more information, please call:

The da Vinci Project Media Contact:

Brian Feeney

Written by Robin

September 19, 2006 at 9:25 am

Posted in lunar lander

Masten Space XA-0.1 progress

Jon Goff updated Masten Space Systems blog today, with news of XA-0.1’s engine trials and igniter tribulations. Nice photo of the soon-to-be flying machine’s innards here.

Allison Gatlin wrote a story about Masten Space for the Antelope Valley Press. Now they have *really* arrived in Mojave.

Written by Robin

September 13, 2006 at 3:32 pm

Posted in lunar lander

New attraction for X Prize Cup

X Prize Foundation’s new website says Anousheh Ansari will appear at X Prize Cup, fresh back from her own personal spaceflight expedition to ISS.

No official news yet on what teams will compete for Lunar Lander Challenge, and the Lunar Lander Challenge X Prize does not appear on the foundation’s list of current X Prizes.

But don’t worry, it must still eXist because it’s still mentioned on the list of attractions and live webcast schedule at X Prize Cup.

Written by Robin

September 12, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Posted in lunar lander

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Written by Robin

September 11, 2006 at 10:26 pm

Posted in lunar lander

X Prize Cup Rocket Truck maybe

Michael Belfiore called in to a Special Edition of The Space Show aired on September 8th, 2006 with guest Tim Pickens to inquire about his Rocket Truck advertised for X Prize Cup.

In response to listener questions, Tim discussed his rocket-powered truck and bike, his plans for the coming X Prize Cup in Las Cruces, NM.

Written by Robin

September 10, 2006 at 12:48 am

Posted in lunar lander

Armadillo 65-second hover

John Carmack wrote to aRocket, the Alternative Rocketry mail discussion group, about Armadillo Aerospace‘s Lunar Lander Challenge progress:

It didn’t rain on us in Oklahoma this weekend, so we got to do a long hover test. We intended to run it straight through, but we stopped at 17 seconds when the engine got ratty sounding. We inspected the engine, and it still seemed ok, so we vented the lox back down to atmospheric to cool it off and repressurized.

We lifted off again and hovered for 65 more seconds before we hit lox depletion. The engine went in and out of the ratty performance, but it kept going. I believe that the ugly sounding engine is when lox starts boiling in the injector manifold.

That would always be goodbye injector with aluminum, but the stainless injector seems to get through it, and the poor performance eventually lets it cool back down enough for it to go back to smooth flow and combustion. The big conical pockets on the lox cooling holes are definitely acting as flameholders, I’m pretty sure after we weld them all closed and remachine them as just straight holes that the engine will stay smooth continuously.

We expected to hit lox depletion originally, but venting the tanks and going through our leveling procedure before the restart tossed out a good chunk more lox. We still had a quarter of our fuel load left in the tanks after the flight, and we could load 50% more total propellant if necessary (at the cost of a higher initial ullage pressure). This combination does the 90 second challenge easy.

I am slowly chewing my way through our high performance twisted injector in stainless steel, hopefully for testing on Tuesday.

We had a couple X-Prize Cup folks at the test today, but there is a decent chance we will do our official qualification flights for level 1 next week, and level 2 the week after that. We have been considering the possibility of using the high performance engine for both the level 1 and 2 challenges, possibly doing level 1 as a touch-and-go with no refueling, but I am currently leaning towards using the low performance engine for level 1 because it is a lot easier on the chamber, leaving the glowing chamber for level 2.

Written by Robin

September 9, 2006 at 11:39 pm

Posted in lunar lander