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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 !

    • It's kind of like the way hard drive companies measure disk capacity.
      • Oblig. (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        http://xkcd.com/394/

    • Re:humm (Score:4, Informative)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:12AM (#29964436) Journal
      It's almost as easy to click the link and RTFA as it is to complain about the summary...

      The extra $150,000 was awarded to one of the companies for their completion of an earlier phase.
      • Re:humm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:44AM (#29964904)

        "It's almost as easy to click the link and RTFA as it is to complain about the summary..."

        True, but it doesn't accomplish the same thing.

        If you RTFA you find out where the error in TFS came from; complaining about the summary may or may not accomplish this.

        If you complain, you draw attention to the poor quality of the summary. RTFA will not do this.

        Now, you can argue about what good it does to draw attention to the summary - clearly it's not like the editors care what we think of their work. I can't argue with wanting to make a point, though, and I certainly don't get where the moderators come up with GP as a troll.

      • Re:humm (Score:5, Funny)

        by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:51AM (#29964994) Journal
        >>It's almost as easy to click the link and RTFA as it is to complain about the summary...

        Holy crap there are links to articles in the summaries?!?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BitZtream (692029)

          Occasionally, but most of the time the link is to a blog, writing about another blog, who linked to a new article on some aggregator site like Engadget, that may link to the NASA article, but probably links to someone elses blog about the original article.

          Rarely are the links to the actual content, without a bunch of opinions and misinterpretations thrown in for good measure.

          • by Teancum (67324)

            Hardly. I will have to give general kudos to the Slashdot editors who usually look at multiple submissions and have to make a judgement call on links in the summaries.

            Yes, it is sometimes a blog post, but far more often it is the link to the actual news source (which can be a blog, too!) If the "announcement" is on a blog, that is the original source.

            Word of mouth will often come through news aggregators and via blogs. Heck, I've found out some interesting stuff from blogs that I regularly visit... and th

    • by daveime (1253762)

      When did you hear of a NASA project that DIDN'T go overbudget ?

    • Ah, the submitter just mixed up the conversion from metric. Happens all the time here.
    • It would be nice if all government operations were this efficient - only a 10% loss, that's great!
    • by tool462 (677306)

      Didn't you know that anytime two monetary values are added together, the gov't tacks on 10%?

  • woot! I've been cheering for Armadillo for a long time, hopefully we can prevent the first strogg attack if they can gain pace and get the number 1 spot soon.

    • by TigerNut (718742) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:25AM (#29964624) Homepage Journal
      Armadillo completed the challenge several months ago, but their landing accuracy was slightly worse than Masten's attempt. Masten completed the challenge only one day before the expiration of the contest, and was able to do it only because another competitor failed and the X prize foundation allowed Masten to use their launch window (they'd earlier used up their scheduled time slots without doing a successful flight). Armadillo didn't have time or launch permits to go back and improve their accuracy.

      John Carmack was understandably disappointed in losing the $500K but is taking the long view that Masten needs the money more than they do, and they've already moved on to new projects.

      • by khallow (566160)

        and the X prize foundation allowed

        NASA allowed Masten not the X Prize Foundation.

        • The X Prize Foundation was in charge of running the contest. It was their decision to bend the rules.
      • by cyberthanasis12 (926691) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @02:43PM (#29967078)

        Armadillo completed the challenge several months ago, but their landing accuracy was slightly worse than Masten's attempt. Masten completed the challenge only one day before the expiration of the contest, and was able to do it only because another competitor failed and the X prize foundation allowed Masten to use their launch window (they'd earlier used up their scheduled time slots without doing a successful flight). Armadillo didn't have time or launch permits to go back and improve their accuracy.

        John Carmack was understandably disappointed in losing the $500K but is taking the long view that Masten needs the money more than they do, and they've already moved on to new projects.

        Not only that. Carmack's vehicle was bigger and thus closer to the real thing, and more difficult to handle. However the control was so accurate that the vehicle hardly oscillated or rotated at all. Much better than Masten's vehicle - even an amateur like me could see it.
        IMO Carmack should get the 1st prize. Mastens did also very good job, and would deserve the 1st prize, if Carmack's vehicle were absent.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          If this contest generates some congressional support for a level 3 prize.... I'd put Armadillo as a leading contender.

          Or more significantly, if I were trying to build a vehicle that would actually go to the Moon, Armadillo's tech would be something I'd seriously consider in terms of purchasing. I don't know if Armadillo is going to get involved in the Google Lunar X-Prize (a completely different contest), but they certainly have the vehicle capable of getting to the ground in once piece.

          Now that would be r

    • by sunking2 (521698)
      Hurray! First Loser! Congrats!
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:13AM (#29964452)

    The real key to successfully land the lander is to understand that you need to apply enough thrust to slow your descent without actually reversing the velocity of the craft. If you can balance that action so that you end up only a couple pixels off the ground, you can safely put the lander down on any flat surface.

    The other problem is to navigate to a flat surface, but that is also easily solved by pressing the left and right arrow keys.

    As for actual controls, I prefer using the spacebar to activate the rockets, although some people like the down arrow key.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by foobsr (693224)
      The real key to successfully land the lander is to understand that you need to apply enough thrust to slow your descent without actually reversing the velocity of the craft.

      Yes, well known since the days of the HP 65 [wikipedia.org]("the first programmable handheld calculator in outer space") Lunar Lander [rskey.org].

      CC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by camperdave (969942)
        Hitting the backspace key in the Commodore Pet version give you negative thrust. It would actually pull you down to the lunar surface, but your lander would gain fuel. Quite useful at times.
    • We used a light pen on the PDP-11/34.
    • by Teancum (67324)

      Strangely enough, one of the early "proof of demonstration" projects John Carmack had with his software was a completely software demonstration of the flight control systems.

      He even posted the code for it... but I don't want to bother trying to dig it up. It wasn't that polished, but it did do the job.

      Mr. Carmack also controls most of the flight systems with his laptop computer out in the field.... so I wouldn't doubt that he may be using the spacebar or arrow keys to be controlling thrust. When most folk

  • by xxuserxx (1341131) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:16AM (#29964494)
    I am not surprised at Armadillo's success. John Carmak has been making mars simulators since the early 90s.
  • 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?

    D

     

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is that so surprising? Have you heard of Robert Goddard? :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      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

      • by Teancum (67324)

        I'm curious about what you think would be missing here, in terms of a real lunar lander?

        I'm not suggesting here that the trip into LEO and to get into Lunar orbit is a trivial thing, but presuming that some other vehicle such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 was to launch the Pixel or a similar spacecraft built by Aramdillo.... are you sure it would be considerably more difficult to build a lander that would be capable of picking up a lunar soil sample and then return that to the Earth?

        I don't think this is quite so

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      Its not fair, but the universe doesn't have a concept of fair, just reality (or this dimensions version of reality away, thats open to debate)

      • by HEbGb (6544)

        What are you talking about? This has nothing to do with "the universe", it's about the specific, deliberate decisions of crooked, misguided judges.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          No, its about building technology to land on the moon safely and for as little cost as possible.

          The contest was never about giving away a million dollars to anyone but the most petty of people. I'm really far too lazy to look, but its a safe bet everyone involved spent more than the million dollar prize just getting something they could consider testing.

          You're too focused on yourself and your greed to focus on the bigger picture.

          It is entirely about the universe, and forwarding our ability to explore it.

          • You're too focused on yourself and your greed to focus on the bigger picture.

            I love how you accused HEbGb of personal greed after he tried to explain this to you. I'm not sure what sort of a cut he's expecting to get from Armadillo, but it really makes you sound like a paranoid dick. However, I'll try to explain it myself, just out of personal kindness.

            Its not fair, but the universe doesn't have a concept of fair, just reality

            The universe is supremely fair. It is a single set of physical rules that apply to

            • by Teancum (67324)

              I would love to give a pithy comeback to this post, but I'll avoid the temptation for now.

              Fairness is a relative thing, where shit happens to everybody that sometimes is out of our control. Yes, we can occasionally make decisions that will help improve our odds of success at a task we are dedicated to accomplishing, but things do happen that are randomly bad and awful to ourselves and those around us.

              People die of heart attacks, illness, or even events completely out of our control. Perhaps a drunk driver

              • Masten simply was prepared and had their permits and vehicles in place to be able to take advantage of that last launch opportunity.

                Yes, on earth there is a lot of random chance. The universe is based on the laws of physics, not the United States. Launch permits mean nothing when you are trying to land on a far away planet. Away from earth, there is surprisingly little random chance apart from the reliability of the spacecraft (e.g. whether the mechanics did their job or were distracted) where Armadillo won

                • by Teancum (67324)

                  I hope you noticed that I'm a different person that the one you previously responded to. I don't know what to apologize for in reference to an earlier post I didn't even write.

                  As far as getting launch permits to land on the Moon... you might just be surprised at what regulations do exist for going there. International regulation of spaceflight is going to be an interesting and challenging task for future generations of lawyers, and it isn't entirely clear who has jurisdictional authority on spaceflight on

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cyn1c77 (928549)

      Agreed!

      NASA really administered this contest poorly. At a minimum, the prize money should have been equal and in my opinion, not even that would be fair.

      It is really frustrating when the "judges" make rules allowances late in the game.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by IrquiM (471313)

        It is really frustrating when the "judges" make rules allowances late in the game.

        Actually - the rules stated that the judges could do this - but yes, I agree

      • by Teancum (67324)

        I disagree completely. Why should the prize money be "equal"? The point was to provide a strong incentive for contestants to get a vehicle to complete the basic requirements.... and to ensure that somebody who came in "2nd place" would at least receive a little bit of money for their effort instead of simply be left with the expenses of going up.

        NASA did an excellent job here... considering that NASA employees running this contest consisted of a single office of I believe two people (it may even be just o

    • As I've long predicted, when real money starts being placed on the line - that what the alt.space community calls the 'mammals' (almost hobbyist level startups) will start behaving like the 'dinosaurs' (traditional aerospace companies).
       
      A very interesting Rubicon has been crossed by the nascent 'small space' industry, even if they don't realize all the implications of it yet.

    • "Blatantly unfair" ... hmm... I take it you don't work in the business world? :-)

      I agree it doesn't sound right but then lots of people on slashdot shout that NASA should behave more like a business concern and less like a bloated government department... being totally and blatantly unfair when it suits them to get the results they want is a good way towards operating like many major corporations...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HEbGb (6544)

        The should absolutely behave like a business concern.

        But when people are robbed of their just rewards, especially for short-sighted PR reasons, it undermines the trust in the organization itself. Who in their right mind would now put up real money and effort into competing for this prize, when the organizers have already shown that they're perfectly happy to cheat?

        That's bad business.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Patch86 (1465427)

          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

  • I had a programable HP calculator. I believe it was a HP-41C. That had a lander program where you needed to enter figures to determine your decent onto the moon.

    That was many, many years ago. So can I now get the money for wasting so much time on it?

  • by malakai (136531) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:38AM (#29964830) Journal

    The team that ended up 'beating' Armadillo's accuracy was given an extra day of flights. This didn't make John Carmack or many others very happy. At the same time, people are more upset with what appears to be arbitrary judging than competition. I think any of the three final teams would have removed a part from their engine and loaned it to another team. In fact, during previous attempts this happened with RR and AA.

    I don't think anyone is going to be surprised that I am unhappy about
    Masten getting a fourth shot at the level 2 prize. I understand that
    there is a desire to award all the prize money this year and be able
    to close the books on the LLC, but I don't think it is fair. If you
    can just call an abort each day, you can keep anyone else from
    flying. Three swings, three misses, time's up.

    John Carmack

    For the past couple weeks, as it became clear that Masten had a real
    shot at completing the level 2 Lunar Lander Challenge and bettering our
    landing accuracy, I have been kicking myself for not taking the
    competition more seriously and working on a better landing accuracy. If
    they pulled it off, I was prepared to congratulate them and give a bit
    of a sheepish mea culpa. Nobody to be upset at except myself. We could
    have probably made a second flight in the drizzle on our scheduled days,
    and once we had the roll thruster issue sorted out, our landing accuracy
    would have been in the 20cm range. I never thought it was worth
    investing in differential RTK GPS systems, because it has no bearing on
    our commercial operations.

    The current situation, where Masten was allowed a third active day of
    competition, after trying and failing on both scheduled days, is
    different. I don't hold anything against Masten for using an additional
    time window that has been offered, since we wouldn't have passed it up
    if we were in their situation, but I do think this was a mistake on the
    judges part.

    I recognize that it is in the best interests of both the NASA Centennial
    Challenges department and the X-Prize Foundation to award all the prize
    money this year, and that will likely have indirect benefits for us all
    in coming years. It is probably also beneficial to the nascent New
    Space industry to get more money to Masten than Armadillo, since we have
    other resources to draw upon. Permit me to be petty enough to be upset
    and bitter about a half million dollars being taken from me and given to
    my competitor.

    The rules have given the judges the discretion to do just about anything
    up to and including awarding prize money for best effort if they felt it
    necessary, so there may not be any grounds to challenge this, but I do
    feel that we have been robbed. I was going to argue that if Masten was
    allowed to take a window on an unscheduled day with no notice, the
    judges should come back to Texas on Sunday and let us take our unused
    second window to try for a better accuracy, but our FAA waiver for the
    LLC vehicle was only valid for the weekend of our scheduled attempt.

    John Carmack

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      Whine whine, moan moan, bitch bitch.

      The real point to the contest was to get the best possible design. Not sure that the extra day really helped that so much, but he did do better, which is more important than who won as far as I'm concerned.

      • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @02:21PM (#29966864) Journal

        Yeah, but it sounds like Carmack's argument is that he thinks that he could do even better yet again if they had an extra flight. Which makes sense, every time you do a test flight, you learn something, and so that should make your next flight even better. Take this further, and if your ultimate goal is to get the best possible design, then the contest should never end, because there's always room for improvement.

        But in reality, when you create a contest, you have to have rules and you have to have a deadline. Bending the rules for one team but not the others is generally unfair. The extra day most certainly did help, because apparently their craft was unable to fly on its three "regulation" attempts.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          For the past couple weeks, as it became clear that Masten had a real shot at completing the level 2 Lunar Lander Challenge and bettering our landing accuracy, I have been kicking myself for not taking the competition more seriously and working on a better landing accuracy. If they pulled it off, I was prepared to congratulate them and give a bit of a sheepish mea culpa.

          This is pretty much where this should have ended. John Carmack could have and perhaps should have secured the permit to get the extra fligh

    • by njvack (646524) <njvack@wisc.edu> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:38PM (#29965652)

      I think any of the three final teams would have removed a part from their engine and loaned it to another team.

      And indeed, after Masten's third attempt, their rocket was damaged badly enough by a fire that they really thought they wouldn't be able to fly the next day, regardless of the judges' decision. It was the help of volunteers from other competing teams that got them off the ground the next day. In addition to fixing the problem that caused the fire, they essentially needed to replace all the wiring on the rocket.

      And the next day, a bunch of Masten's team members drove up to FAR and helped Unreasonable Rocket to troubleshoot their rockets -- even though success by Unreasonable could only cost them prize money.

      The members of these teams are not only ridiculously talented, they're also ridiculously open and supportive of each other. It's a bit humbling to watch.

    • by stiller (451878)

      I completely agree with John on this. A challenge was set. The team first to meet this challenge was Armadillo and so should be awarded the first prize. What if I better even Masten's result in a month or so? Will they take back their prize and award it to me? In the eyes of the public, the first one to complete a challenge wins it. Any deviation from this seems unfair and only hurts the image of all involved.

  • Ummmm (Score:1, Troll)

    by Absolut187 (816431)

    Not to be a negative nancy, but didn't we *actually* do this like 50 years ago?

    What's next, a $1 million prize to the first company that can build a hydrogen bomb, construct a MOSFET (or something else the government did 50 years ago).

    It just seems sad that we are still at this point, 50 years later.

    Sorry for the negativity..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      The difference is in cost. The hope is that for mere eraser shavings we can have small private companies develop the modern guidance and control software for a lander that would take traditional contractors with NASA direction much more to develop.

      When someone says "we did it 50 years ago" remind them that we did it then with 3-4 times the budget, and improved computer technology only lends incremental advantages -- plus that there was some loss of institutional knowledge of vehicle development since we ha

    • Re:Ummmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:01PM (#29965142)

      Yes unfortunately 30 years ago. We stopped doing it. And after 30 years most of the people who were involved retired. Or are near retiring. IF we kept it up we will probably be so much better at space travel. However the shuttle product made space travel a bad thing for government, to expensive and not far reaching enough. We need to get off the idea of the StarTrek reusable ship. Until we get much better at it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        How do we get better at it if we don't practice, make mistakes, make surprising discoveries about what works right although we never expected it to?

        We'll never learn anything if we don't try.

        However, we're not really going to leave our solar system any time soon for any useful reason until we can break some things we consider 'laws of physics'. Space is just too big and it'll take too long to do anything useful. It takes too long to do anything useful other than what we can manage in orbit already. The m

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Patch86 (1465427)

          Invention isn't linear. We don't actually have to be building spaceplanes in order to improve the technology required for spaceplanes.

          The atmospheric portion of any spaceflight involves the same techniques as atmospheric flight in general- improving the technologies for regular flight helps with spaceflight.

          The space-based portion of spaceflight involves the same techniques, regardless of whether your craft is reusable. Getting better at spaceflight in general will mean we're better at reusable spaceflight.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by selven (1556643)

        Ships can, and should be reusable. In deep space. The solution is to decouple deep space travel and launch - when you're launching the ship you need multistage and some other tricks to escape the gravity well. But when you're in space you can use the same ship to travel to Mars and back twice, with only a refueling stop, since it takes rather little energy to propel yourself once you're out of Earth's gravity.

    • by rotide (1015173)

      It seems to me that the point of these exercises is to get the civilian programs up to speed and with their own technology.

      If a civilian company can duplicate or even best NASA at these "rudimentary" tasks, said company may be in a better position to be entirely self dependent.

      If we can encourage these companies to "reinvent the wheel" now, they will be in a really good position to _not_ need NASA as a crutch on issues in the future.

      Teaching a man to fish vs giving a man a fish..

    • by khallow (566160)

      Not to be a negative nancy, but didn't we *actually* do this like 50 years ago?

      What's next, a $1 million prize to the first company that can build a hydrogen bomb, construct a MOSFET (or something else the government did 50 years ago).

      NASA used a lunar lander (which was developed by a private contractor) roughly 40 not 50 years ago. Bell Labs not government developed the MOSFET. And unlike lunar landers, we still have operable hydrogen bombs and MOSFETs today.

      It just seems sad that we are still at this point, 50 years later.

      Well, things didn't work out. If we want to get back to the point we were 35-40 years ago, we have to redevelop the technology.

    • by vlm (69642)

      What's next, a $1 million prize to the first company that can ... construct a MOSFET (or something else the government did 50 years ago).

      Exactly whom do you think constructs mosfets? Wisconsin Department of Transportation? USDA? BATF?

      Now if the offered a $1M prize for the first mosfet that switches 200 KW yet fits in a SOT-23 package (surface mount, about one by three millimeters) for like electric cars and stuff, that would be interesting ...

  • With the hours I've spent on it, I'm pretty overqualified to do the demo if they need me.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      How many did you write? I bought one, it sucked, so I wrote my own. Then ported it to a different platform.

      I wrote a battle tanks game in Z80 assembly, should I go to work for DARPA?

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:52AM (#29965004)

    Finally some vindication for those in the tinfoil hats.


  • I see another fake Moon Shot happening! 8-)

    --
    Ah say, son, you're about as sharp as a bowlin' ball.
  • This will make faking lunar landings soooo much easier! Hmmm.... unless this competition was faked, too! Quick, where's my tinfoil hat?
  • Yes, and unfortunately the contractors building spacecraft for NASA now are the same ones who built them in the 60s. Competition, in general, spurs innovation and makes things cheaper, and pushing the growth of new startups in the industry would, at the bare minimum, bring new ideas to the fore. Ideally I'm sure the goal is to get private companies more involved in launching and exploration. There are very few around currently, and most of them are still only in the developmental stages. NASA wins by both
    • Wow I suck at this (though I blame our IT department)...that was meant in response to the comments above asking why NASA's pumping money into this when we already did it in the 60s.
  • If they were giving out extra free days last year Armadillo probably would have got 100% of the money a year ago! The judges should have taken this in to account, bonus points for accuracy? Sure, but they should lose a place just for having to try a 4th time. Fair would be armadillo gets $1.5m, being 'nice' would be $1m to armadillo and .5 to Masten. But the other way around is just totally bogus.

    Armadillo definitely deserved the full million. IMHO...

  • When I saw the title of the post, I thought the companies would be Industrial Light & Magic and Apogee.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Armadillo was robbed; Armadillo were first by MONTHS, succeeded in their allotted window in two sequential flight attempts and their craft never caught fire unlike Masten's.

    Talk about destroying incentive. This is yet another illustration of the endemic incompetence at NASA. They could not organize a piss-up in a brewery.

  • "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.

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