Official recap

The X Prize Foundation, as anticipated, issued a press release Sunday evening reviewing the past two days of the X Prize Cup. The release plays up the fact that Armadillo nearly won the level 1 prize Saturday afternoon despite a busted engine; the release cites fuel line contamination for the igniter problems experienced by Armadillo [...]

Video of Sunday morning flight attempt

Here’s a video I shot of Armadillo Aerospace’s first leg of their attempt Sunday morning to win the Lunar Lander Challenge. Due to poor camerawork on my part the lander goes out of frame for a few seconds during its descent. You can see the lander hover for the final seconds of its flight to [...]

Armadillo: “Can’t believe we were lucky 30 times”

Armadillo team members Russ Blink and Phil Eaton were manning the Armadillo staging area late this afternoon, as the 2007 X Prize Cup wound down. Eaton confirmed that they had suffered another hard start, this one more violent than their previous ones. While fuel valves closed off in time, the downward force of the hard [...]

Wrapping up the X Prize Cup

Brett Alexander, the executive director for space and X Prize Cup for the X Prize Foundation, brief the media a little while ago about the status of Armadillo’s final, failed flight. Some key points:

There’s still little in the way of technical information about the engine failure this afternoon. There was not a catastrophic explosion [...]

Hard start finishes Armadillo

Armadillo Aerospace has apparently suffered another, and this time catastrophic, hard start upon engine ignition, dashing their chances of winning any part of this year’s Lunar Lander Challenge. This time the hard start took place at the beginning of the first leg of the flight (not the return leg, as was the case this morning [...]

Armadillo update

The latest as of about 12 noon MDT:

According to both X Prize and Armadillo personnel, the Mod did not suffer a hard start at the beginning of the first leg of its morning flight (as well as the beginning of its afternoon flight yesterday); only the return legs have suffered these hard starts. According [...]

Another Mod flight this aftenoon; third window?

The latest from the media center: Armadillo will try again this afternoon (start time: 12:45 pm MDT) for level 1 of the Lunar Lander Challenge. They have replaced the engine on Mod with one cannibalized from Pixel. There is also the possibility of a third window late this afternoon, around when the air show ends [...]

Another miss for Armadillo

Armadillo Aerospace’s third bid to win the Level 1 Lunar Lander Challenge failed this morning, again apparently because of continued engine problems. The vehicle appeared to fly well on the first leg of the flight, although the engine may have suffered a hard start on liftoff. On the return flight, the vehicle apparently lifted [...]

X Prize Cup day 1 photos

I’ve uploaded to Flickr a photoset of images from Saturday’s X Prize Cup events. It’s a mix of airshow photos, Lunar Lander Challenge images, and the unveiling of Orbital Outfitters’ commercial spacesuit (more on that in the near future.)

Video of Mod flight

Here’s a video I shot of the final Mod flight of the day Saturday, which suffered the engine problem that prevented it from landing successfully. The lander is out of view for the second half of the video, hidden by the terrain (including an unfortunately-placed bush), but you can hear the audio of the play-by-play [...]