Feeds

Carmack's rocket wins $350,000 in mock moon mission

Third time's the charm for Doom creator

New hybrid storage solutions

John Carmack, creator of the childhood-innocence-purging video games Doom and Quake, has finally lead his team of rocketeers at Armadillo Aerospace to victory in the annual Northrop Grumman Lunar Landing challenge.

In its third year of participation, Armadillo Aerospace has snagged $350,000 in prize money for winning Level One of the two-tiered competition held October 24 to 25 at Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico.

Armadillo's winning vehicle "Pixel" was able to rise to an altitude of 50 meters and touch down on a landing pad 100 meters away, while staying aloft for at least 90 seconds. The team then had to refuel and repeat the challenge in reverse within two and a half hours.

The competition is sponsored by NASA's Centennial Challenges program with a total purse of $2m designed to promote commercial space technology.

Level Two requires contestants to navigate a larger vehicle designed to stay aloft for twice as long and land on a simulated lunar terrain. Carmack's team made an attempt at Level Two this year, but were stymied by technical problems. As a result, $1.65m in prize money remains on the table for future competitions.

"It's great that we won the Level One," said Carmack. "We're going to keep working towards Level Two, which we can hopefully compete for again soon. We know exactly what we need to nail down and expect to have it solved in the next couple of weeks."

Although nine teams were registered for the 2008 challenge, only two ended up flying their vehicles this year. The other competitor, Chicago-based TrueZer0, was able to reach a height of 50 meters, but was unable to complete the 100 meter translation to the second landing pad.

Armadillo's entry for 2007 ended on its fourth attempt that year when the vehicle's engine exploded on ignition. The previous year, victory was snatched away when the lander's legs kept breaking off.

The X-Prize Foundation has a highlight video of day one of the competition,including Armadillo's winning flight

There's also a clip of the second day's unsuccessful attempt at Level Two, along with Carmack explaining what went wrong.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.