A spaceflight raffle – with a change in rules

Last week a Florida nonprofit, the Aerospace Research and Engineering Systems (ARES) Institute, announced a competition titled “Win A Trip To Space!”. The idea was simple: buy a raffle ticket, and one lucky winner will get a ticket on a suborbital spaceflight. But the contest rules appear to have quietly changed since last week’s announcement, […]

Does the GLXP scorecard need a new grading curve?

The web site Evadot recently published a comprehensive “team scorecard” ranking all the current teams participating in the Google Lunar X PRIZE. The scorecard lists 22 teams and their cumulative scores based on the following metrics:

Funding – 20 possible points – Measures how far along the teams are in their acquisition of funding based […]

Bigger prizes to come?

The entrepreneurial space industry has been big supporters—and beneficiaries—of prizes, from the Ansari X PRIZE and the Google Lunar X PRIZE to NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize program. Now it looks the latter is going to get a lot more robust. After several years of not getting any funding, Centennial Challenges got $4 million in NASA […]

Xombie photos (finally!)

Better late than never:

Masten gets halfway there

I was in Mojave this morning to see Masten Space Systems make their first attempt to claim second prize of Level One of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. (I didn’t make a special trip to California to see it; I was already in the area to attend the AIAA Space 2009 conference in Pasadena […]

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the LLC race

In today’s issue of The Space Review I have a summary article about Saturday’s Level 2 flights by Armadillo, including video of both flights. While that was going on, though, other teams have been making progress on their flights. On Sunday, Masten Space Systems announced via Twitter that they made two 90+second test flightsdespite gusting […]

Armadillo Level 2 Flight 1

Here’s a video I shot of Armadillo’s first leg of the Level 2 flight on Saturday. This was shot from a distance of about 1,500 feet from the pads, the designated safety boundary. This is considerably closer than the distance the public and media witnessed similar LLC flights in past years.


Photos from Armadillo’s Saturday flights

Armadillo managed to beat the weather and any technical gremlins on Saturday with a pair of successful Level 2 flights, ensuring that they at least qualify for the prize. (Because of the nature of the competition, they won’t know until the end of October, when the competition season closes, if in fact they have won […]

Armadillo versus the weather

I’m in the Dallas area this weekend to (hopefully) see Armadillo Aerospace compete in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge at the Level 2 category. The “hopefully” is less associated with any technical issues–they’ve flown their “Super Mod” vehicle a number of times on the pads they’ve built at the Caddo Mills Municipal Airport northeast […]

Decisions, decisions

Pity poor Emma Morris, a 27-year-old publicist from Melbourne, Australia. Or not. You see, she’s a winner of a contest by Australian airline Virgin Blue that awarded her 25 million points, enough to be redeemed for a flight on Virgin Galactic. However, she can also use the points for two Alfa Romeo Spider sports cars […]