Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge (NGLLC)
is a competition with $2.0M in prize money
from NASA, in which teams must build and
fly rockets that can
- Take off vertically from a pad and rise
to 50 meters, translate sideways 50 meters
and then come down smoothly onto a second
pad. They must then be refueled and flown
back to the starting pad along the same
path. Both flights must occur within a
2.5 hour window.
- Remain in the air for 90 secs in the
Level I part of the competition and 180
secs in Level II.
- In Level II, the landing pad has a rocky
surface to simulate the lunar terrain.
The goals of the project include:
- Demonstrating robust fully reusable
rocket engines and vehicles.
- Demonstrating low cost development of
sophisticated rocket systems.
- Development of rocket technology that
could someday actually be used for lunar
Aerospace team, led by famous compuer
game programmer John Carmack, won the $350,000
first place prize for Level I in October
2008. This year they are aiming for the
million dollar first place prize for Level
II. The first three videos below show Armadillo's
successful execution of the two Level II
flights on September 12. The team must now
wait until the end of October to see if
other teams in the competition can complete
the Level II flights as well and attain
a higher accuracy in the landing.
With streamlining, the Level II vehicle
is capable of reaching 100km altitude, the
borderline of space. Armadillo has a development
program laid out to take the vehicle to
space and to fly science and educational
Other teams in the NGLLC 2009 contest,
which ends on October 31st, are aiming for
the Level I second place prize of $150,000
as well as both first and second Level II
prizes. The fourth video below shows a vehicle
Space Systems that flew the first leg
of the Level I competition in Mojave on
September 16th. That flight was successful
but an engine problem prevented them from
carrying out the required return flight.
They will have another 2 day window in October
to try again. They have a second vehicle
to compete for Level II.
The team Unreasonable
Rocket will attempt at the end of October
to win in both the Level I and Level II
prizes. It was recently announced that another
team has registered for the 2009 NGLLC but
the team has not yet been identified.
The competition is managed for NASA by
PRIZE Foundation. Northrop Grumman also
provides some financial support for the