Lunar Lander Challenged

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

Archive for the ‘lunar lander’ Category

Attention Space Bargain Shoppers!

If you bought a “Fly Your Stuff” package on Genesis II and naturally assumed the launch would be delayed and you’d have plenty of time to deliver your Stuff to Bigelow Aerospace HQ in Las Vegas — check the countdown clock at Fly Your Stuff.

Bigelow Aerospace publicist Chris Reed says a few payload spots are still available even at this late hour. Can you believe that? The space bargain of the century is not quite sold out, only two days before the offer expires.

For only $295, you can send a photo — or an item no bigger than a golf ball, lighter than an ounce, no powders or magnets or liquids or power-operated devices (darn), but a real something-or-other — to space for what might be quite a long stay in Earth orbit, eventually to be part of a brief light show when Genesis II disintegrates upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

This is a very low price point and it even comes with a very good Money Back Guarantee: If you don’t get a picture of your Stuff floating around inside Genesis II from orbit within 90 days, you get your money back. Please name one other space launch service that compares to this offer in any way.

Recent space traveler Anousheh Ansari told Oprah the other day that she would agree to pay her Russian space transportation provider even if the trip was one-way.

Space Services Inc. now offers the Earth Return service, a brief joyride for cremains, touching the edge of space then recovered on Earth a few miles away if all goes as planned. No guarantees, no money-back offers, and the list price is $495. Sorry but this does not grab the space bargain-shopper in me. Honestly, what thrifty space bargain shopper would go for this when there’s still space available on Genesis II?

David Livingston, host and creator of TheSpaceShow.com tried to book an orbital flight for the ashes of his beloved dog Biscuit with Space Services Inc. but was turned down because the company didn’t want to send dog cremains on the same flight with famous human cremains like James Doohan (Star Trek’s Scotty) and astronaut Gordon Cooper.

Some Biscuit ashes do have a ride scheduled on Space Services Inc.’s Earth Return service (now predicted to fly January 2007 with Up Aerospace), but the best ride (for the price) for what remains of Biscuit will be in the vintage lipstick case pictured here.

Fly your stuff

Yes, ashes are “powder,” and they do break the Fly Your Stuff rules just a little… but Bigelow Aerospace will make an exception for Biscuit so long as the ashes are safely encapsulated in this space-safe vintage lipstick case.

Who doesn’t like a space program that’s willing to break a rule now and then…?

Written by Robin

October 29, 2006 at 11:22 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Space.com eXclusive / nagging questions

Despite Setbacks, Teams Set Sights On Lunar Lander Purse – By Leonard David, Senior Space Writer posted: 27 October 2006 11:40 am ET ~ This story is a good wrap-up of Lunar Lander Challenge, although it still leaves some questions unanswered and mysteries unsolved. For instance:

Will there ever be an X Prize Cup webcast archive at Space.com?

Why do the rules for Lunar Lander Challenge prohibit propellants with Hydrogen Peroxide in concentrations above 70 percent, but RocketMan can launch himself only a few feet away from the crowd with the banned fuel?

Why did Armadillo’s lander legs collapse on contact? Just a careless design flaw? Or was it a sportsmanlike gesture, a way of winning the day without ending the contest …? They will never ever admit to such a thing, but I have my suspicions…

Written by Robin

October 27, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Astounding Video from Armadillo

Matthew “Flash” Ross has posted a great collection of videos and stills from X Prize Cup to the Armadillo Aerospace media archive.

Have fun!

Written by Robin

October 26, 2006 at 9:05 am

Posted in lunar lander

True stories of Lunar Lander Challenge (plus news reports)

What really happened:

X Prize Cup 2006 — Armadillo Aerospace News update October 23 2006

X-Prize Cup — Selenian Boondocks by Jon Goff October 24 2006

[exclusive media coverage at PopSci.com, Space.com and Aero-News.net not mentioned here]

News archive collection, still in progress: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robin

October 25, 2006 at 9:33 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Future Girl

Megan Miller tours the 2006 Wirefly X Prize Cup for PopSci.com …

Written by Robin

October 25, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Posted in lunar lander

X Prize Cup missing video

X Prize Cup on-demand video page at Space.com is stuck at last Friday’s highlights, and XPrizeCup.com still looks like it did three weeks ago. Matt at Armadillo is taking an awfully long time to post the team’s videos of Pixel’s flights — one camera was placed midway in the flight path and recorded the view up the rocket nozzle. A pirate videographer who even snagged a guerilla interview with Anousheh Ansari found his digital media had gone missing at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, now playing on YouTube channel kdavidian (by Ken Davidian, NASA contractor): Flight of Armadillo Aerospace’s Pixel quad vehicle to qualify for its FAA-AST experimental permit, Thursday, 19 October 2006.

Written by Robin

October 25, 2006 at 11:15 am

Posted in lunar lander

Lunar Lander Challenge Win

The trouble with divining the future by dowsing is that you must be very specific about the question.

The “Yes” answer to the question “Will Armadillo win Lunar Lander Challenge Level 1 tomorrow?” turned out to be slightly misleading because the question did not specifically ask about the prize money. But the answer wasn’t wrong because Armadillo did win. Pixel flew three beautiful one-way flights, did not crash and barely burned.

Armadillo Lunar Lander Challenge team and X Prize leaders

Tommy, Matt, Phil, Joseph, Peter, James, John, Russ, Neil (not pictured) and Bob

Other eXciting teams demonstrated their rocket technology prowess and nothing blew up. X Prize Cup is getting better every year.

Written by Robin

October 21, 2006 at 6:45 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Armadillo will win Lunar Lander Challenge Level 1 tomorrow

An interesting special attraction of the International Symposium on Personal Spaceflight was the Dowsing Workshop.

According to divination conducted with copper L-Rods purchased from the Farm and Ranch Museum gift shop, Armadillo will win Level 1 of Lunar Lander Challenge tomorrow, but will not win Level 2.

Written by Robin

October 20, 2006 at 10:01 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Good advice

(On the advice of a certain person who works at a somewhat secretive spaceship company in the low-cost spaceship capital of the world, I have decided to stop doing shoddy journalism and pesky critiques of fledging space prizes and go try to win one myself.

…which is actually how I got started here in the first place.)

Written by Robin

October 20, 2006 at 8:13 pm

Posted in lunar lander

Lunar Lander Challenge news & live blogs

Contrary to the predictions of several normally reliable space race journalists, Lunar Lander Challenge will not be updated during the event. That’s because I am not really a serious journalist, just a part-time public service blogger whose mission is mostly accomplished now, except for rounding up the news clippings and collecting them here for future scholars of Lunar Lander Challenge.


New Space Race at MSNBC.com: Rocket fest begins with noble failures

Space.com: X Prize Cup

Space.com: Welcome to the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup On-Demand Video Archives
Don’t miss a moment of the 2006 Earth’s Great Space Exposition! Watch the thrilling events as teams compete in the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Elevator Games, and more! Enjoy all the action, expos and events.

LiveScience Blog by “X PRIZE Cup”

Space.com: Lunar Lander Rocket Flies But Fails in Bid for Prize Dollars

HobbySpace RLV & Space Transport News: All-day coverage begins here. And ends (?) here.

PersonalSpaceflight.info: All-day coverage begins here.

Transterrestrial Musings: All-day coverage begins here.

Cosmic Log: Lunar Lander Goes Halfway

Cosmic Log: At the Rocket Circus

Los Angeles Times: X Prize Cup Contestant to Shoot for Faux Moon

Flight International: It’s cold out here in the desert at the Wirefly X Prize Cup event, waiting for the Northrop lunar lander challenge

NASA Watch: Text of X Prize Foundation Space Act Agreement — Agreement between NASA and The X Prize Foundation for the Lunar Analog Challenge

Written by Robin

October 20, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Posted in lunar lander