Thursday, November 5, 2009

NASA Awards Lunar Lander Prizes

Okay, I've been gone for a long while. Here's a brief explanation of why: My workplace has been treating me and those around me so horridly this past year, that I hardly have motivation enough to come to work in the morning, much less update this website a couple of times per week.

However, enough space tourism news has happened recently that I feel compelled to write a few updates. Also, I want to write one of my long-winded rants, this time on the subject of quasars. Take note, though, that I still won't be posting as frequently as before until I get out of this horrid job.

But enough of that. Let's start with this:

I have written before about the Lunar Lander Challenge, which is managed by the X-Prize foundation. Well, this year's challenge has come and gone, and this time, there are two winners.

Masten Space Systems won 1.15 million dollars from Nasa for completing the more difficult Level 2 challenge, to demonstrate a vehicle that can take off to hover at least 150 feet, stay flying while at least 180 seconds, travel 300 meters, lan on a rocky moon-like surface, then repeat the whole process in reverse within 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Armadillo Aerospace won second place, earning $500,000 for doing the same thing; they just didn't do it quite as fast.

It should be noted that the principal goals of each of these companies is not to create landers; they are both interested in actual spaceflight, specifically with the average consumer in mind. Masten is interested in flying your stuff to space on the cheap (though they emphasize vertical takeoff and landing technology), and Armadillo is working toward developing tourist spacecraft. So this good news for space tourism all around.

As an added bonus, these flights represent the first time the Level 2 challenge has been completed.

Oh, another interesting note: I just updated the bars at the bottom of the post. My solar panel savings have caught up with my trip to space savings, exactly. They're both at 6.47%. Weird.

Trip to Space
Progress: 6.47%  Flight Time: 0:09:42
Solar Array
Progress: 6.47%  Power: 65W

No comments: