Feeds

Crashed Armadillo rocket means no lunar X-Prize this year

Landing: trickier than it looks

Boost IT visibility and business value

Just one challenger entered the now-annual X-Prize Cup's Lunar Lander challange, and sadly, that mission ended in pieces on the desert floor.

Well, there were two entries, but both were submitted by John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace. The company's Texel rocket didn't fly at all, and Pixel crashed, but not before some pretty impressive flying.

The Lunar Lander challenge sounds hideously difficult. The rocket must not only take off without blowing up, it must climb to at least 50m carrying a small load, and then come to land, vertically, on another launch pad 100m away from the start point. Then it has to fly back to the original launch pad.

Frankly, most Fridays we'd struggle to travel so accurately in two dimensions, but the Armadillan was doing well until it had to land.

"We managed to set it down on the pad, but when it landed, all four landing legs broke off," John Carmack explains, on the Armadillo Aerospace website. "I was preparing to fly it back 'on bloody stumps,' but we also cooked the drive and feedback cables on one of the gimbal actuators, so we couldn't make the return flight."

To stay in the game, they cannabalised Texel for new legs, slowed the descent rate and had another go the following day. This worked pretty well in testing, and even though they missed the landing pad, sending their rocket rolling around on the desert floor, they were confident of the approach speed.

But when it came to the real thing, they broke one of the legs on landing, and this sent Pixel badly off course when it was time to launch again to head back to the start.

Carmack says the result was disappointing, and that although the prize money would have meant bonuses for the staff, Nvidia's sponsorship means they can keep going.

"We are going to take a little break to recuperate and catch up on our other responsibilities, then get back at it to nail all the known issues and proceed on to bigger and better things," he concludes. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?