VTVL Rockets in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challence 2009


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27 May 2007
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Two challenge levels:
Level 1: Lift off from a pad, travel to another pad some 50 meters away and land, then refuel and fly back. Each flight must stay in the air at least for 90 seconds.
Level 2: The remote pad has some boulders and craters and the airborne time must be at least 180 seconds per leg.
If many teams qualify, the winner will be determined by landing accuracy.

pic 1) Armadillo Aerospace's Scorpius aka Supermod (L2), LOX/Methanol

pic 2) Masten Space Systems' Xombie (L1), LOX/Isopropyl alcohol, and
pic 3) Xoie (L2), same propellants

pic 4) Unreasonable Rocket's Blue Ball (L1), hydrogen peroxide monoprop and
no pic) Silver Ball (L2), hydrogen peroxide-gasoline biprop

Armadillo won the first place of L1 in 2008 with Pixel or Mod (I forget). Armadillo has a L2 flight done in 2009, Masten has one with better accuracy (done early today). Masten also has a L1 flight done this year (trying for second place prize money). Unreasonable will try L1 today and L2 tomorrow (saturday).

Unreasonable is the last team attempting, flying today and tomorrow, live video stream possibly at
also news at

EDIT: On friday no success for Unreasonable, saturday next attempt.


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Here's a brief summary of the final LLC results:

Unfortunately unreasonable crashed and burned (pretty much literally) despite some very valiant and heroic efforts.

Masten ended up L2 winners with Armadillo runners-up. Masten were also L1 runners-up, following on from Armadillo's L1 victory in 2008.

Both Armadillo and Masten are continuing active development of their VTVL vehicles, with the aim of achieving suborbital (100km+) spaceflight. Armadillo looking, eventually, to produce a manned system (eg for space tourism), whereas Masten remain focussed on very low cost unmanned.

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