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Moon NASA Science

2 Companies Win NASA's Moon-Landing Prize Money 110

Posted by timothy
from the what-happened-to-$150k? dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA said it will this week award $1.65 million in prize money to a pair of aerospace companies that successfully simulated landing a spacecraft on the moon and lifting off again. NASA's Centennial Challenges program, which was managed by the X Prize Foundation, will give a $1 million first prize to Masten Space Systems and a $500,000 second prize to Armadillo Aerospace for successfully completing the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge."
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2 Companies Win NASA's Moon-Landing Prize Money

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  • humm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PIBM (588930) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:09AM (#29964398) Homepage

    1M + 0.5M = 1.65M !

  • by derrickh (157646) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:23AM (#29964598) Homepage

    Wow, so in 10 years Armadillo went from a rocket club with a bunch of guys launching hobby motors in fields to building moon landers?



  • Carmack was robbed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HEbGb (6544) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:28AM (#29964682)

    http://www.parabolicarc.com/2009/10/30/armadillos-mccormack-robbed-ngllc-judges/ [parabolicarc.com]

    The other team had a whole extra day to improve their results that Armadillo did not. This is totally and blatantly unfair, and he has every right to be pissed.

    Garbage like this will dissuade other teams from entering, no doubt.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <{fairwater} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @01:45PM (#29966490) Homepage

    Wow, so in 10 years Armadillo went from a rocket club with a bunch of guys launching hobby motors in fields to building moon landers?

    More accurately "to building self guided rocket powered models capable of vertical take off and landing". The craft couldn't survive the boost to orbit, let alone the extreme environment of the Earth-Moon cruise, let alone the extreme environment of the landing phase and the lunar surface.
    Homebrew liquid fueled engines and homebrew control systems are kinda impressive hobbyist accomplishments... (With the ubiquity of compact computing, the impressiveness of the latter has dropped off considerably in my estimation.) But they're still a very, very long way from anything even remotely resembling an experimental prototype lunar lander.

  • "Boosted Hop" video (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FleaPlus (6935) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:04PM (#29970214) Journal

    Apparently since doing their lunar lander run Armadillo Aerospace has been keeping itself busy with "boosted hops," where they fire the rocket up to a certain altitude, and then land back down under the rocket's own power. Here's a neat video of them boosting up to ~1000 feet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYk9uGrAqn8 [youtube.com]
    http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=16628 [hobbyspace.com]

    Starting with lower altitudes, each time they run they're going for an incrementally higher altitude. They've gone up to about 1932 feet (589m) [youtube.com] so far, with the plan to go all the way up to 6000 feet, which is the highest their FAA permit allows them to currently launch. I believe both Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems have a number of customers in the scientific community who want to use these sorts of controlled boosted hops for running things like microgravity experiments.

  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:16PM (#29971362)

    I'd say it seems like pretty god business, though still blatantly unfair.

    NASA's main interest, and the purpose for funding such competitions, is in fostering private research into rocketry and space travel. This decision makes sense for several reasons: firstly, it allowed an extra device to be successfully tested, providing important data for the project developers, aiding them in improving their technologies. Secondly, it enabled them to give the lions share of funding to the more impoverished of the two projects (as Carmack himself said, Armadillo needed the money less so than Masten), helping to keep them afloat.

    Sure it's rotten, but NASA made a decision that's right for NASA.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.