Sunday, August 05, 2007

X PRIZE Cup Lunar Lander Summit

RLV News also gives a link to a newspaper article on the meeting of the Lunar Lander Challenge teams. This is a meeting that's been planned by the X PRIZE Foundation. At the Space Access '07 Conference, they mentioned that they had a team summit like this before the 2006 X PRIZE Cup, and they were considering doing one or more of these this year. Here are more details about that X PRIZE Cup Operations Talk.

Here's the article from the Alamogordo Daily News. There are some factual mistakes or typos in the article ($2.3 million? Grumman Corporation (I forget if that was one of the names before the merger, but it's wrong now)? Richard Diamantis?), but I have to assume the new material on the meeting is fine. I also think the following statement made during the summit, although presumably reported correctly, goes way too far:

"The point of this competition is that the company that wins will be able to negotiate with NASA ... So that when NASA is ready to land another crew on the moon, they will have the craft to do it with."

If it were true I don't think NG wouldn't be too happy about sponsoring it since they want to make the next lunar lander. It would be more realistic to say that calling it the Lunar Lander Challenge makes the challenge more fun and gives it a publicity boost, and maybe they will learn some things that will help with a lunar lander. However, what these companies are really after is vertical takeoff vertical lander rockets, which have a lot more near-term applications than lunar landers.