X Prize Cup
The engine of an experimental Moon lander exploded on the launch pad on Sunday, dashing Armadillo Aerospace's hopes of winning up to $1.35 million in NASA prize money.
The 2007 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge was the main event at the X Prize Cup rocket expo this past weekend near Alamogordo, New Mexico, US. The competition is intended to promote innovative ideas for a new generation of vehicles that could land humans on the Moon.
Although no one won the big money this year, the X Prize Cup was a success:
Armadillo Aeorospace was the only team with a lunar lander ready to compete in the X Prize Cup this past weekend. In order to win the lesser $350,000 prize, the rocket had to lift off, hover for at least 90 seconds and land in a designated spot. It then has to successfully repeat the flight within two and a half hours. This photo was taken on Saturday. Everything went well and the team was halfway to winning the money. On the return flight attempt, the rocket ran out of fuel and stayed in the air only 83 seconds before falling to the ground.
It was an exciting day for the kids. They had never been on a base before and were amazed. "Where is the litter?" "Everything is so clean!" "They are so organized." "I want to live on a base!" We parked in a lot and went through a metal detector before loading up on a bus to the field. There were lots of airplanes and helicopters to look at and the kids were able to climb all over them. Robots, rockets and a giant moon were on display. The military was out in full force. The kids got their faces painted, held guns and scrambled on top of a tank. We ate pretzels and snow cones and hot dogs. All in all it was an educational and exciting day for them.
P.S. Sunday's flight ended in a giant fireball. Not good.