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Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Team Summit a Success


9 registered teams attended briefing at Holloman Air Force Base to prepare for October 24 and 25 Competition

Alamogordo, N.M. – The 9 teams registered to compete in the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge concluded the first Team Summit at Holloman Air Force Base today. The Challenge, run by the X PRIZE Foundation, is a two-level, two million dollar competition requiring a vehicle to simulate trips between the Moon’s surface and lunar orbit. 2008 will be the third year that the Challenge has taken place in New Mexico, and is helping to kickstart the fledgling spaceflight industry in New Mexico.

In addition to the generous support from the NASA Centennial Challenges for providing the $2 million prize, and from Northrop Grumman in providing operating costs, the Challenge has received a great deal of support from the state of New Mexico, and specifically Spaceport America. One of the goals of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge is to help move the private spaceflight industry forward, and New Mexico and the Spaceport are adamant in their support of those goals. The Lunar Lander Challenge is an example of an industry that can help to bring more business to New Mexico. Many teams are excited about the possibilities that New Mexico and Spaceport America offer.

“We’re looking for a major test program in New Mexico starting in 2010,” said Neil Milburn, Vice President of Armadillo Aerospace. “Probably as many as 100 flights, most of them sub-orbital space before that year is over.”

“Brandon and I went to Los Alamos High School together,” said William Baird, leader of Team Phoenicia. “Having lived here for so long, and coming back, it’s just the perfect time. And if the Spaceport opens up, and we have enough backers, maybe we’ll consider something back here!”

The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge will take place on October 24 and 25 at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM. The event will not be open to the public as it has been in the past, but will be webcast live, and archived. You can find out more details about how to watch as we get closer to the event at

The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge is a two-level, two million dollar competition requiring a vehicle to simulate trips between the Moon’s surface and lunar orbit. The vehicle is required to rise to a height of 50 meters, translate to a landing pad 100 meters away, land safely, and then return, following the same path. Two levels have been defined: one with smooth landing pads, the other with a replica lunar surface as an additional difficulty. In 2007, eight teams were registered to compete: Acuity Technologies, Armadillo Aerospace, BonNova, Masten Space Systems, Micro-Space, Paragon Labs, SpeedUp, and Unreasonable Rocket.

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit

Centennial Challenges is NASA’s prize program to promote technical innovation through competitions open to all Americans. The Lunar Lander Challenge is one of seven current competitions designed to tap the nation’s ingenuity in support of NASA’s goals. Centennial Challenges is managed by NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program Office.


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