Armadillo Wins Lunar Lander Challenge Level 1, Crashes On 2

John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace has won the $350,000 Level One X-Prize Lunar Lander Challenge. As this video shows, their spaceship blasted off the designated area, got up to 150 feet, and then hovered for 90 seconds at that altitude to land with absolute precision on a pad 150 feet away. And they did it twice. Armadillo was also the first one to try the $1.65 million Level Two challenge, but unfortunately crashed badly on that attempt, as the next video shows.

The second level of the challenge is even more difficult, requiring the spacecraft to hover for twice the time and then land in a simulated lunar surface full of craters and boulders. The problem with the second level was with the fuel mix, which was altered because of a slowly moving valve. The resulting mixture reached a temperature that was too high for the exhaust nozzle, which finally broke with obvious results. The Lunar Lander challenge is sponsored by NASA-providing the prize money-, Northrop Grumman, and the X-Prize foundation, and it has been designed to get new private companies into the space race using new designs and technologies. Definitely, we are getting there. [X-Prize]

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

The idea here is to get companies that are not bogged down with endless bueracracy and waste to build the next generation of space vehicles. NASA is not funding this. John Carmack has spent about $3 Million of his own money to make this happen. Check out his website www.armadilloaerospace.com

A lot of companied like Armadillo have made successfully hovering rocket vehicles. They were part of the challenge that got Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne their $10 million. Burt Rutan had a lot more money and expertise available to get his done. Now Virgin Galactic is going to give everyone a ticket into space for $200,000 instead of the $20-$30 Million that Russia currently charges and the US won't even put a price on.