Lunar Landers X-Prize

Posted on August 24, 2007  Comments (1)

Crash destroys rocket ahead of X Prize contest

The front-runner for a $2 million NASA competition to build mock lunar landers has lost one of its two main vehicles in a fiery crash. The company, Armadillo Aerospace, says it will enter a smaller vehicle instead, but outsiders say the upset will level the playing field and add suspense to the upcoming contest.

The challenge has two ‘levels’ that involve a vehicle lifting off at one launch pad and hovering – for either 90 or 180 seconds, depending on the level – at an altitude of 50 metres as it moves to a second launch pad 100 metres away. Then the vehicle must do the same thing in reverse. If more than one vehicle achieves this, then the vehicle that can repeat it the greatest number of times in a given time period of time will win.

He notes that the front-runner for the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight of an aircraft in 1927 was not Charles Lindbergh but Richard Byrd, “until he crashed on take-off, and just like that, was out of the race.” That left Lindbergh to win the $25,000 prize for the flight.

The X prize contests continue to be an interesting method of encouraging research and development. Previous posts: $10 Million for Science SolutionsAutonomous Vehicle Technology CompetitionLunar Lander X-prize site

One Response to “Lunar Landers X-Prize”

  1. CuriousCat: $10 Million X Prize for 100 MPG Car
    March 20th, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

    “Those that qualify will race their vehicles in rigorous cross-country stage races in 2009 and 2010 that combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance. The winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100 MPG…”

Leave a Reply