Video: E-Rex Lunar Excavator Collects Regolith

The E-Rex rover collects simulated lunar soil during the Regolith Excavation Challenge. The vehicle dumped 75 kilograms into the container, half of what was required to qualify for a prize. It collected more soil before it got stuck and the 30-minute collection period ran out. The team will return to Little Rock, Arkansas without any prize money.

Regolith Excavation Challenge – Another Team Qualifies

wpi_moonraker

A second team, Paul’s Robotics of Worcester, Mass., has qualified for prize money in the Regolith Excavation Challenge. The team from Worchester Polytechnic Institute excavated 439 kilograms of simulated soil, which puts it in the lead for a $500,000 cash prize from NASA. The second place team will received $150,000, with $100,000 going to the third place team.

There was some controversy over whether the robot had excavated soil outside the assigned area; however, the judges looked at the markings in the test bed and confirmed that there was no problem with the effort.

(more…)

Regolith Challenge Update: Braundo Rancho Qualified for Prize

lunar_arc

Lunar Arc’s entry in the Regolith Excavation Challenge

Greetings from the Regolith Challenge at NASA Ames.

So far, seven teams have competed. Two of them have succeeded in picking up and delivering simulated lunar regolith,while five others have succumbed to technical failures. The successful teams are:

Braundo Rancho: 263.75 kilograms – Palo Verdes, California
Laurentian Rock: .4 kilograms – Glendale, California

(more…)

Regolith Excavation Challenge Details and Schedule

nasa_logo

NASA PROGRAM UPDATE

The 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge will be held on Oct. 17-18 at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The $750,000 prize challenge is a nationwide competition that focuses on developing improved handling technologies for moon dirt, known as lunar regolith.

Admission is free and open to the public.

(more…)

Space Elevator Games Set for November

spaceelevator

The postponed Space Elevator Games are now set for Nov. 2-6 at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The teams will spend the first two days setting up, testing and calibrating their experiments. A 3-day competition will then commence on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The teams will have a 45-minute climb window on each day.

The competition is being sponsored by The Spaceward Foundation with funding from NASA as part of the space agency’s Centennial Challenges. The games were delayed from August due to technical problems.

More information is available here.

Report on Masten Space System’s Xombie Flight

MASTEN PRESS RELEASE

Masten Space Systems successfully demonstrated multiple sustained free flights of its XA-0.1B vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) rocket this past week. The longest flight was 93 seconds and involved a flight between two pads 60 meters apart. This marks the first time a purely rocket powered VTVL has flown from Mojave Air and Space Port.

(more…)

Armadillo Makes Second Successful NGLLC Flight

Armadillo Aerospace made two flights of its lunar lander prototype today, putting it in the lead position to capture the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. (View a team photo taken after the successful flights.)

The Mesquite, Texas-based company completed two test flights in one day from a test facility in Caddo Mills, TX, to satisfy requirements for Level 2 of the prize. The second level requires the rocket to fly for 180 seconds before landing precisely on a simulated lunar surface constructed with craters and boulders.

(more…)

Space Elevator Games Postponed Indefinitely By Technical Problems

spaceelevator

NASA DRYDEN PRESS STATEMENT

The Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge Games originally scheduled for this summer at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center have been postponed. The Spaceward Foundation conducts this prize competition as part of NASA’s Centennial Challenge Program. The challenge this year requires teams to demonstrate devices that can climb a one-kilometer vertical cable using electrical power transmitted via a laser.

(more…)