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Lunar Lander Challenge and it's Draft Rules

Posted by: whonos - Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:07 am
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Lunar Lander Challenge and it's Draft Rules 
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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:33 pm
In the Armadillo Q&A thread dannyTX posted a link to an article by Jeffrey F. Bell in which he basically trashed the significance of the Lunar Lander Challenge in general and the accomplishments of Armadillo in particular. A number of posts in the Armadillo thread have responded to his criticism of Armadillo's work, but I thought I would reactivate this thread to ask the question: how significant do you think the Lunar Lander Challenge is? What real benefits will be gained by it? I confess to having a wee bit of doubt, too, about how much relevance this contest will have to the actual development of any lunar lander vehicles, especially NASA's. On the other hand, anything that stimulates the development of inexpensive and reliable rocket technologies in the private sector seems bound to help make cheap[er] access to space a reality in the long run.

What do you think?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 31, 2006 4:28 pm
I agree that these landers are not cutting edge technology. But neither was Lindbergh’s airplane. I agree (and so does John) that these landers are not prototype lunar vehicles, but the Spirit of St. Louis was not a prototype transatlantic airliner either. The whole point of these prizes and events is to get people working in the area and get the public interested, and it is working!


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:06 pm
I guess my point is, why would NASA choose a "lunar lander" as one of their Centennial Challenges? And how does this contest do anything to help encourage the innovative ideas that lunar exploration will require? It seems to me that the main challenges of lunar exploration are 1) getting there, and 2) dealing with the lunar environment.

But maybe we're actually agreeing on this. As I said, I think the real value is just to encourage the development of inexpensive and reliable rocket technologies in the private sector. This may help foster cheaper launch vehicles for getting into LEO, but it will have precious little to do with any moon landings in the forseeable future. Putting a "lunar lander" label on this Centennial Challenge is pure marketing.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:02 am
Hello, Enthusiast,

in the Latest News section I quoted NASA's homepage regarding the Lunar Lander Challenge and mentioned the Aldridge Commission as well the Congress.

Alone the circumstance that NASA officially and publicly say on their homepage that the winning Lunar Lander Challenge Vehicle will be applied directly in the lunar plans already is sufficient to force them to do so really.

I think that they are forced by the laws but they are forced politically also: The teams wouldn't have started to develop those vehicles if they wouldn't assume that thea can get revenues by them. Expectations have been caused and teams might take it all to the courts if NASA doesn't do as said on their homepage. The situation would be similar to what The da Vinci project has been blamed for.

A more severe point is that the millions are thrown into all the Centennial Challenges prizes - and these millions are tax money. If NASA wouldn't make use of at least one of the vehicles, equipments, technologies developed to compete for the prizes this would be a waste of tax money - and this would be made a subject of public political action against NASA, against the government.

I personally only can encourage the teams to take NASA to the courts if they don't do as they say on their homepage: apply the winning vehicle directly in their plan.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:38 am
The Lunar Challenges create a lot more contractors who can supply a big burst in demand if it is ever needed. The competency demonstrated by completing level 2 will allow the team to have greater confidence in themselves along with the experience gained from some of the biggest challenges in a Lunar landing:

- Automated Guidance
- Fuel management
- Fine attitude control (in a windy Earth envrionment no less)
- Reusable deep throttling engines
- Stable landing gear

Doing it on Earth means the systems are more capable. The LLC landers as configured could deliver five times their mass as payload to the Moon due to being built for an Earth environment. More importantly it could handle the conditions of a Mars landing in a bubbly atmosphere.

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