WINNING TEAMS ARMADILLO AEROSPACE
AND MASTEN SPACE SYSTEMS
PAVING THE WAY FOR A NEW CLASS OF LUNAR VEHICLES THROUGH A UNIQUE PUBLIC-PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIP
Launched: May 5, 2006
Awarded: NOVEMBER 5, 2009
Armadillo Aerospace is a leading developer of reusable rocket powered vehicles. We are focused on VTVL (vertical takeoff, vertical landing) suborbital research and passenger flights, with an eye towards eventual paths to orbit.
MASTEN SPACE SYSTEMS
Masten Space Systems is a vertically integrated aerospace R&D and flight services company creating and deploying reliable, reusable rocket vehicles and components. The company builds regeneratively cooled bipropellant propulsion systems and fully reusable vertical takeoff and landing launch vehicles. Masten focuses on unmanned suborbital flights.
THE FUTURE OF LUNAR LANDING
Manned lunar exploration used to be the exclusive purview of governmental agencies until the $2M Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE paved the way for a new class of lunar vehicles. Through a unique public–private partnership between Northrop Grumman, NASA and XPRIZE, the winning teams proved that private industry could build, fly, launch, hover and land spacecraft suitable for lunar exploration for a fraction of what the government spends.
Prior to the competition, space exploration was controlled exclusively by governments, which created astronomical costs that proved unsustainable over time. The result was a stagnant space program, a lack of opportunities for engineers and scientists and a diminishing pool of next generation talent coming from universities. Lack of inspiration and innovation resulted in a market failure where neither the interest nor the funds were available to take the next step in exploring our vast universe for the betterment of humanity.
Accelerate innovation in space exploration by advancing rocket-powered vehicle technology for repeated space travel.
The $2M Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE, in partnership with NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, challenged teams of scientists, engineers and innovators to design rocket vehicles capable of routine and safe vertical takeoff and landing for lunar exploration and other applications. The vehicle was required to lift to a height of 50 meters, translate to a landing pad 100 meters away, land safely and then return, following the same path.
The prize was divided into two levels — a relatively easier Level 1 and a more difficult Level 2 — each of which had a first and second place prize.
Level 1: 1st place: $350,000 Level 1: 2nd place: $150,000
Level 2: 1st place: $1 million Level 2: 2nd place: $500,000
The competition launched on May 5, 2006 and was awarded on November 5, 2009.
Level 1: 1st Place: Armadillo Aerospace
Level 1: 2nd Place: Masten Space Systems
Level 2: 1st Place: Masten Space Systems
Level 2: 2nd Place: Armadillo Aerospace