X Prize Cup rocket competition flames out

Armadillo Aerospace's mod lunar lander prototype went up in flames on Sunday during its final launch attempt at the X Prize Cup backed by NASA

Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace was the lone star of the X Prize Cup for a second year in a row.

By design, the X Prize Cup is a rocket festival celebrating forward-looking technologies that the organizers hope will one day turn average people into astronauts by making space travel affordable.

But in practice, the event revolves around an as-yet-unsuccessful NASA competition to develop and fly a reusable lunar lander, with total prizes worth $2 million.

Armadillo, founded by Doom creator John Carmack, was the only participant of nine total teams that was ready to fly a vehicle here this weekend. Even it failed to complete more than two flights, leaving the challenge unmet for another year. (Armadillo was the sole team in 2006 as well.)

“The money’s on the table until someone wins,” NASA spokesman Ken Davidian said during the event.

Source:  CNET News

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