jedibfa writes "Las Cruces International Airport came alive with applause and cheers yesterday afternoon as John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace took the first place prize for the Level 1 challenge of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, winning $350,000 and bragging rights. Adding to the excitement of the day, shortly before completing their second qualifying flight, Armadillo Aerospace and The Rocket Racing League announced a joint program to develop a sub-orbital tourist vehicle that will fly out of the New Mexico-based Spaceport America and cost less than $100,000 per ticket. On Sunday, the team will have three opportunities to go for the Level 2 challenge that more closely approximates the required performance for a real lunar landing. Good luck, Armadillo Aerospace, both on Sunday and in your new endeavor!" We discussed preparations for the challenge last week. Several other readers have contributed additional coverage, including the Space Fellowship's live blog of the event, the website for Truezer0, another team participating in the challenge, and a VentureBeat article discussing the economic downturn in space exploration, and how the X-prize competitions figure in. Today's Level 2 challenge will be covered live via webcast.
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