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2007 X-Prize Cup

Posted by: JesseD - Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:48 pm
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2007 X-Prize Cup 
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Post 2007 X-Prize Cup   Posted on: Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:48 pm
Hello, RPSpeck,

I was looking through the Wirefly X-Prize Cup pages for the upcoming Lunar Lander Challenge, and noticed that you are one of the registered teams.

The X Prize Cup is less than 3 months away; do you think you will have a vehicle ready to fly? I have searched your website, this website, nasaspaceflight.com, the x prize website, and have found no indications that your team has even begun building or testing any hardware for the challenge.

I would love to see the vehicle you are putting together, if you are. Could you post some details and pictures of your progress so far?

Thanks,
Jesse D


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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:19 am
Hello, JesseD,

since rpspeck had a lander ready for last year's Lunar Lander Challenge but didn't a FAA-permit to fly it then it might be that he and his team are busy to get the required FAA-permit for this year's competition.

...



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Post re: last year   Posted on: Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:12 pm
Oh, that's right! I recall hearing something about that, but I had not thought that that was more than a mock-up. I saw this photo, but no evidence that it was flight-ready, had done any kind of test flight, or such things.

I'd love to hear how your testing/permit/flight progress is going!?

- Jesse


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:24 am
I don't think they have flight tested it yet. I find it hard to believe it will work as expected the first time, and X-Prize Cup is less than 3 months away now. So I think Armadillo is still the front runner by a wide margin. But we will see in October.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:11 am
Hello, JesseD,

Thank You Very Much for that photo.

On Micsro Space's homepage there is an photo or a link to a collection of photos at least where the lander available last year is exhibited.

The homepgae seems to not have been updated since 31rst of October 2006 - there will have been several progress I suppose. I can no way imagine that everything has been left as it was nine months ago.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:20 am
http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=4322

Could you comment on why Micro-Space was not at the meeting? If not being there implied that you are no longer eligible for a 2 million dollar price purse, I would think that attending it would get a high priority.

This makes me think that you are not quite serious about participating. Please proof me wrong! I want to go to the XPC and I'm looking forward to a good show! The more teams participating, the better.

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Post ready to fly   Posted on: Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:28 pm
>since rpspeck had a lander ready for last year's Lunar Lander Challenge
>but didn't a FAA-permit to fly it

Having a vehicle frame is not the same as having a vehicle ready to fly. See Masten.

If a team hasn't done a LOT of good tethered tests, they aren't "ready to fly" in the lunar lander challenge. You would have to believe that they are doing their extensive testing in secret, which is a bit of a stretch.

Getting the FAA permit is much easier than making a flying vehicle capable of the LLC. Paul Breed used to think otherwise, but he has explictly admitted that getting the permit work done was not that big of a deal, while the engineering was much harder than expected.

John Carmack


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Post Junkyard wars approach?   Posted on: Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:54 pm
I wonder if maybe some teams have been seduced by a Junkyard Wars mindset - construct right up to the deadline, and test in competition.


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Post Hmm...   Posted on: Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:15 pm
from Leonard David's LiveScience.com Blog
Quote:
Micro-Space of Denver, Colorado has missed a required milestone — a Team Summit — making them ineligible to win prize money in 2007. The team will continue their development, however, and have a presence at this year’s Wirefly X Prize Cup
:?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:08 pm
Perhaps Rpspeck, can shead some more ight on what happened, that is fairly vague.

Interesting never the less!

Rob

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Post X Prize Cup   Posted on: Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:34 pm
I am sorry that I have been too busy to keep up the news postings (and even slower in updating our website).

We opted to skip the "Mandatory Meeting" when it became obvious that we would again not be able to obtain a FAA Experimental Launch Permit in time to fly in this year's competition. The "Test at the Competition" concept is impossible because the FAA permit requires observed flight tests well before the public event opens.

We continue to work toward hovering tests of all three of our Lunar Lander vehicles. This includes juggling engineering, fabrication, testing, fund raising and other personal issues. In fact our financial picture is worse than it was last year. The "Dead End", no follow on aspect of this particular competition makes both sponsorship and investment more difficult than it would be for events which had an interesting future. (The Google Lunar X Prize, to some extent, has added such a future.)

To call our displayed hardware a "Mock Up" is far short of reality. The motors are copies of a design we have successfully flown in 17 liquid fuel rocket flights. The lightweight fuel tanks are similarly our proven production model (used on those flights and in many hydrostatic tests). The control system is a derivative of that we used in three near hover, thrust vector guided rocket flights. This "engineering prototype", its plumbing and system details were and are in a state of flux as we test and improve the design. In addition, we discovered that we had not adequately addressed the problem of transporting this assembly for long distances over the road without damage.

A much more attractive, but less meaningful "mock up" was actually displayed, made up of impossibly heavy "fire extinguisher" tanks. Anyone who has seen actual research hardware (including that of the first transistor) would not jump to the conclusion that a rough and unfinished assembly had to be a "mock up" and not operational test hardware.

On the other hand, Armadillo has without doubt increased their lead in this competition.

We continue to believe that our proven, lightweight, high structurally efficient systems will earn us a place in coming space efforts, just as our lightweight, operational life support systems will for Manned Deep Space work.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:30 am
Hello, rpspeck,

What's the reason you see no follow-on aspect of the Lunar Lander Challenge? Has it to do with the cahnce that Armadillo Aerospace might get the prize this year and this competition would'nt be at the the XPRIZE-event 2008? Or are there other reasons?

It would be apity if Micro Space would cancel work on your lander because it is a very interesting one I would have liked to see win.

I will continue to keep it involved in my calculations and also have an additional question - what is the mixture ratio? I will need it for my calculations to consider the delivery of fuel and oxidizer for your lander from Earth - like I have done in my most recent post in the Lunar Siyuz-thread. I will proceed to apply your lander again a few posts later.

What about it? And what about to continue developemnt of the lander for use in the Google-XPRIZE?



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Post Going On!   Posted on: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:31 pm
The Google Lunar X Prize is the first move that qualifies as a "Lunar Lander" follow on.

The terrestrial simulation in the current contest is so far short of demonstrating feasibility for actual use on the Moon, that potential customers can not be expected to make the "leap of faith" and put money into the space version after the NASA prize is won.

It was once rumored that NASA would offer a $50 Million prize for a lightweight landing on the Moon, but this has not happened. This - if it occurred - MIGHT have been somewhat easier and more attractive than the Google prize, but in fact Congress is backing away from competitive prizes of this sort. (My cynical side suggests that this is because politicians can't direct the money to their friends.) I once imagined that NASA actually had money and could decide what to do with it: then I realized that only Congress "has money" and NASA can only go "hat in hand" to beg some for their project suggestions.

Most NASA contests are "fatally flawed". The recently won "Astronaut Glove" contest is a case in point. This contest was winnable but "It will be a Long, Long time before this glove is "qualified" for actual use in space."(NASA quote after contest award.) Translated, this means that NASA has no money to redesign the Glove manufacturing and certification process, or any incentive to do so. The "Public Relations" objective of the contest was accomplished. Now, the astronauts will continue to work slowly, with old style gloves and bleeding fingers, as always.

The "Oxygen Generation" contest is worse. A winning suitcase sized unit is required to produce enough Oxygen to support a 30 man crew, yield 99% pure Oxygen and produce it at a thermodynamic efficiency of 150%. One might imagine more modest goals for a new technology, including at least more solar energy input that thermodynamically required to free Oxygen from the rocks!

The "Lunar Lander" competition (after negotiation with the X Prize Foundation) is surprisingly practical and interesting. A follow on could have reverted to standard NASA "impossible" constraints.

The Google Lunar X Prize is feasible, economically possible, has sponsor significance and real follow on potential. Potential customers will see affordable systems capable of positioning research instruments on the lunar surface operationally demonstrated. More than 20 such ($20 - $30 Million each) copy systems will be purchased to allow research groups to conduct original work on this "planetary" surface. The nations which spent hundreds of Millions $$ to be counted as "Partners" in the ISS will be able to actually make significant space research contributions for a fraction of this money.

Additionally, Lunar Rovers will capture public attention like Spirit and Opportunity do on Mars. (Very little of the Moon's surface has been explored close up.) Combined with the name Google, and that company's desire to maximize publicity, sponsor exposure for competitors' efforts will be very good.

Micro-Space is actively pursuing this prize. That does not, however, change things much here since it plays into our present Lander strengths. Our system is conspicuously light weight (which makes it less expensive to get to the Moon) and already uses "storable" fuels. We have been building Robotic Rover units for years. The split fuel tank cluster configuration we are developing for human lunar landing can easily accommodate a Rover unit. We have also done detailed analysis of the orbital transfer and automated processes for Moon landings in anticipation of an opportunity of this type.

Significant sponsorship would be welcome and would accelerate our work. But we continue to develop our Lander and know that Armadillo can't win all the prizes.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:04 pm
Well now it is October and Armadillo is the only competitor again. It is disappointing but not unexpected.

http://www.livescience.com/blogs/author/leonarddavid


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:06 pm
Yeah but i think there will be other things to look our for at this years XPC.
Lots of rumours about things being developed or announced. If it gets too dull watching one competitor isnt there an F16 flyover!? haha
Think each year it should improve! the first few were always gona be a bit hit and miss

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