Summarizing the X Prize Cup

For this week’s issue of The Space Review I provide a summary of the just-completed X Prize Cup, with a particular emphasis on Armadillo’s attempt to win the Lunar Lander Challenge. If you’ve been reading this blog then you’re familar with most of the details in this article. However, I do try to put the events of the last few days in perspective:

Both the overall Cup and Armadillo’s efforts in the Lunar Lander Challenge illustrated one thing: the entrepreneurial “NewSpace” industry is in a particularly demanding phase of its development. The public’s expectations–and those of some in the industry–have risen because of past successes, like SpaceShipOne. Yes, most companies are still in the earliest phases of developing vehicles and related technologies, a phase prone to failures as new technologies and approaches are tried and often discarded. It’s a steep part of the learning curve, and even more difficult when it’s on public display.

1 comment to Summarizing the X Prize Cup

  • Gene Vorobyov

    It is a very nice summary. My thoughts about the event were along the same lines. I just wish the organizers put a similar summary together at the end of Day 2. It would have been a good way to close what I thought was a successfull Cup. Instead, Day 2 just quietly ended.

    Also, I found it surprising that the organizers sort of downplayed the displays from the companies developing suborbital vehicles. For example, the Da Vinchi booth was tucked away in the far corner. And while the X-Cor booth was in the middle of things, they could have done a better job of explaining whether the development of their vehicle current stands.

    But these are all growing pains. The next year’s event promises to be even better.

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