Friday, March 9, 2012

RCSP's "The Spirit of Alabama"

The second Rocket City Space Pioneers Google Lunar X-Prize lunar lander concept, November 2010, "redesigned with fixed legs and monopropellant configuration" [Rocket City Space Pioneers].
Crystal Bonvillian
The Huntsville Times

Pelham, Alabama - A Pelham fourth-grade class has named the lunar lander that Huntsville's Rocket City Space Pioneers hope will become the first privately funded spacecraft on the moon.

The "Spirit of Alabama" is the Rocket City Space Pioneers' entry in the contest for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize, an international competition that challenges engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The Rocket City Space Pioneers is one of 26 teams around the world vying for the grand prize.

The announcement was made this afternoon to the winning class at Valley Intermediate School in Pelham. The class won a free trip to Space Camp and their teacher, Karen McDonald, won a $500 gift card for classroom supplies.

"We are very excited to congratulate the students of Mrs. McDonald's fourth-grade class," Dr. Tommy Bice, state superintendent, said in a news release. "They came up with a great name and had a lot of fun doing it!"

The naming contest, open to all Alabama fourth-grade classes, was announced Jan. 31 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The Rocket City Space Pioneers teamed on the project with the Alabama Department of Education and the Alabama Tourism Department.

"We were excited to hear that the 'Spirit of Alabama' was selected as the name of the lunar lander. We think it will represent our great state well in the competition," said Lee Sentell, Alabama Tourism director.

Tim Pickens, Rocket City Space Pioneers team leader, speaks
Jan. 31 during the announcement of a contest allowing Alabama
fourth-graders to name the team's lunar lander. The team also unveiled
the prototype of the lander they plan to send to the moon to claim
the Google Lunar X Prize [The Huntsville Times/Eric Schultz].
Tim Pickens, team leader of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, agreed.

"The word 'spirit' represents the collective enthusiasm, loyalty and dedication of our Alabama team and our state relative to our going to the moon to win this Google Lunar X Prize," Pickens said in the news release.

"Our team name, 'The Rocket City Space Pioneers,' captures the spirit of Huntsville, but naming our lander 'Spirit of Alabama' will excite the entire state about our endeavor," Pickens said.

The Rocket City Space Pioneers is led by Huntsville-based Dynetics and consists of team members Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Space, Spaceflight Services, Draper Laboratory, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Moog, Analytical Mechanics Associates and the Huntsville Center for Technology.

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