Eight years later, is the suborbital industry finally ready for liftoff?

Mike Melville raises his arms after exiting SpaceShipOne following his suborbital flight on June 21, 2004. To the left, in the yellow shirt, is Burt Rutan; in the blue shirt and cap is Paul Allen. (credit: J. Foust)

On June 21, 2004, Scaled Composites made history in the skies above the just-renamed Mojave Air [...]

LLC Day 2 images and wrapup

The X PRIZE Foundation issued a press release about the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Saturday, highlighing Armadillo’s Level 1 victory, their attempt at Level 2, as well as TrueZer0′s Level 1 attempt.

Also, I’ve uploaded another set of photos to Flickr with the highlights of Saturday’s activities, including a look at launch pads [...]

Armadillo scrubbing for the day

It appears that Pixel suffered enough damage that they will not be able to repair it in time to fly again today. Still waiting for official word, but all indications over the radio loop indicate that Armadillo will not try to fly again today. John Carmack said in a brief press conference that this problem [...]

LLC Day 1 in pictures

I’ve created a Flickr set of images from yesterday’s activities at the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The picture above, though, probably best represents the mood of people here at the end of the day yesterday when Armadillo Aerospace won the $350,000 first prize for Level 1. They’ll be back at it again today, [...]

X Prize plus four years

Saturday is, of course, the 51st anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, the canonical beginning of the Space Age. It’s also the fourth anniversary of the winning of the $10-million Ansari X Prize by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, the Paul Allen-funded effort by Scaled Composites that resulted in SpaceShipOne and White Knight. This has been a [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Google Lunar X Prize update

I just got out of some press events associated with the Google Lunar X Prize announcement this morning here in LA (where I discovered I created a little heartburn among the X Prize folks by linking to the HuffPo piece earlier this morning.) I’ll have more later, but some highlights from the announcement:

This is [...]

Next X Prize will be a real lunar lander challenge

Later today the X Prize Foundation is scheduled to announce its next major prize competition, which has been billed as “the largest international prize in history” with a Fortune 500 sponsor. However, there is already one credible report about the prize. According to a blog post by Esther Wojcicki on The Huffington Post, today’s announcement [...]

Alexander joins X Prize Foundation

The X Prize Foundation announced yesterday that Brett Alexander has joined the organization as its executive director for space prizes and the X Prize Cup. In that position, according to the press release, he will “work to secure financing, create rules, recruit teams, develop rollout and media plans and investigate international partnerships for all future [...]