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Lunar Lander Challenge: Day 1 Recap October 25, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Current News, Google Lunar X Prize, Lunar Lander Challenge 2008, Youtube.
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Day 1 of the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge is complete, and there’s some great success out of it to recap for ya. (A location note: the event, orginally scheduled to be at Holloman Air Force Base, was recently moved to a different venue, the Las Cruces Airport).

Of the nine teams to enter the contest, two managed to make it to the point of actually getting flights in at the Challenge: Armadillo Aerospace and TrueZer0 (check out my previous post for short profiles on each).

A congrats to Armadillo Aerospace as, third time being the charm this year (after competing the last two years), they won the $350,000 prize with a successful flight (check out that Space.com/MSNBC article for a full skinny on their frustrations, including a lot of clock problems, many due to the aforementioned venue change to Las Cruces airport).

“Color me quite frustrated on several counts.”
-John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace founder/lead engineer, and co-founder of iD software (makers of Doom, Quake), to Space.com

TrueZer0 gets something of an underdog prize, though, despite not qualifying for a prize with their Level One flight: they were already only the fourth competitor ever to get their craft off the ground (and that’s ever, including in test flights), and they had entered the competition very late. Bad news, though, in that their craft (while making it into the air) crashed and burned after 18 seconds, being lost completely.

There’s a completely awesome recap from the X Prize Foundation of Day 1 up on Youtube today, embedded below for your enjoyment:

For Day 2 coverage, there’s a live blog by Leonard David at LiveScience chronicling the events as they happen, and of course there’s the live webcast with chat and much narration by Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation (which as you see with the video above, is itself really interesting, to see such a wealth of dialogue from an important figure in the private space boom). As TrueZer0 was only entering Level One competition, it’s all the Armadillo show today as they go for the big one, the Level Two prize (landing on difficult lunar surface-like terrain).

Check back for more link-a-riffic coverage here as the weekend rolls on… :)

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