This rocket launch from the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) test site near Mojave, Calif., nearly wiped out the remote controlled helicopter sent aloft to film its takeoff. The rocket was launched by Paul Breed of Unreasonable Rocket on December 10. Video used by permission of Paul Breed.
Ironically, the helicopter was severely damaged later in the day in an unrelated crash.
Reports out of Cantil indicate that Unreasonable Rocket has ended its quest to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. During a test flight using a crane and tether, Unreasonable’s Silver Ball lander oscillated, broke the tether, and fell back onto the launch pad on its side. A leg punctured the fuel tank, damaging the vehicle and preventing another flight attempt on the last day of the competition.
Unreasonable Rocket flew its Blue Ball lunar lander on Saturday, but the little vehicle ran out of fuel before it could complete two flights in its effort to capture part of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.
Unreasonable Rocket’s first and second attempts to launch its Blue Ball lunar lander fizzled today. In both attempts, the vehicle rose briefly off the pad, hovered unevenly, settled back down to the surface, and tipped over on its side.
Company CEO Paul Breed and his son, Paul, have called it a day in order to make repairs to the lander. The company has additional launch windows on Saturday at its site in Cantil, Calif. The first window opens at 10 a.m. PDT.
Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge continues to heat up, with a FOURTH competitor now officially entered in the race for the remaining purses. Team BonNovA, stationed in Mojave, CA, will be flying their Lauryad I & II vehicles on October 26-27, 2009 at Cantil, CA. We are definitely excited to see what they have in store for the competition.
The NASAPrize Twitter account indicates that another team will be attempting to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge:
there will be yet another team in the running for lunar lander challenge – to be announced soon
There are three teams vying for the prize: Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, and Unreasonable Rocket. Teams have until the end of October to complete flights.
Armadillo Aerospace has already claimed $350,000 for winning first place in Level One of the competition. An additional $150,000 prize is available for second place at that level. An additional $1 million is available to the winner of Level 2 and $500,000 for the runner up.
The competition, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges, is focused on developing lunar lander vehicles that can fly between launch and landing pads. The effort is managed by the X PRIZE Foundation.
The X PRIZE Foundation announced today that three teams have registered to make attempts to win the $1.65 million still available in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.Â The teams include:
* Armadillo Aerospace will attempt to claim a Level 2 purse from Caddo Mills, TX, on September 12 and 13. * Masten Space Systems will attempt to claim purses in both levels from Mojave, CA, on September 15-16 (Level One), October 7-8 (Level Two), and October 28-29 (Level Two). * Unreasonable Rocket will attempt to claim purses in both levels from Cantil, CA, on Oct 30-31.
An update from Paul Breed on the testing of his Unreasonable Rocket engine:
We went out to FAR and tested our H2O2 and Kerosene regen Motor.We ran it in Mon0-prop mode then in Bi-prop mode. It took a awhile to light in bi-prop mode, but We ran to about 80% throttle without damage in biprop mode. The Video does not really do it justice as it seems to have â€œsamplingâ€ effects. The Monolithic cat pack is clearly not getting good decomposition, probably leading to slow ignition. We need to rework the system test software so we can independently vary the proportions rather than have a fixed schedule. I have not yet reduced the data, but Iâ€™ll do that in the next 24 hours and post the result.
It was a long day and when we packed up we failed to notice a melted spot on one of the vehicle tie down straps and being tired we did not double up as we usually do. So the front strap failed and the vehicle left the truck on the dirt road leaving FAR. The road is really rough and we were going about 40mph, we did not notice the vehicle depart. We noticed it was gone and had to drive back 1.5 miles to find it. Other than a cracked mounting tab and broken fitting on top of two the small stainless spheres it was largely undamaged. We were lucky.
The lineup for Space Access ’08 in Phoenix has been released. The event, to be held at the Best Western Grace Inn,, will feature Jim Muncy of PoliSpace; Misuzu Onuki, of Rocketplane LLC; Jon Goff; Dallas Bienhoff; Frank Zegler; Henry Spencer; and Rand Simberg.
Among the companies and government agencies confirmed include: Armadillo Aerospace, FAA AST, Flometrics, Frontier Astronautics, Masten Space, Space Studies Institute; SpeedUp, Unreasonable Rocket, and XCOR Aerospace.
For more details, visit the Space Access Society website.