Sunday, September 13, 2009

Armadillo Aerospace takes lead in Lunar Lander Challenge

At, kdawson quotes Dagondanum, who writes, "Armadillo Aerospace has officially won the 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Level 2, on a rainy day at Caddo Mills, Texas. Reports came in from various locations during the day and spectators posted videos and images using social networking tools such as Twitter. The Level 2 prize requires the rocket to fly for 180 seconds before landing precisely on a simulated lunar surface constructed with craters and boulders. The minimum flight times are calculated so that the Level 2 mission closely simulates the power needed to perform a real descent from lunar orbit down to the surface of the Moon. First place is a prize of $1 million while second is $500,000."

Mark Whittington of the Houston Space News Examiner writes:

"Armadillo Aerospace, with its Scorpius rocket, has taken the lead to win Level 2 of the Lunar Lander Centennial Challenge and one million dollars of NASA’s money. Last year, Armadillo won Level 1 by launching a rocket to more than a 160 feet in the air, hovering for a minute and a half, landing on a nearby launch pad, then taking off again and repeating the feat to land again on the original launch pad. Armadillo won $350,000 for that feat.

"This year, the competition was more challenging. This time the Armadillo team was obliged to launch their rocket, hover for at least three minutes, land on a pad strewn with simulated lunar boulders, refuel, then fly again to the original launch pad. This Armadillo was able to do during a break in the weather at the Texas site where the Lunar Lander competition, sponsored by Northrup Grumman and the X-Prize foundation, was held this year. The Scorpius managed to land within a meter of the intended targets each time."

Read the Examiner piece, HERE.

No comments: