December 1, 2008

NASA to honor lunar lander winner

The U.S. space agency says it will honor Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Texas, as winner of the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

The recognition ceremony is scheduled Friday at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's headquarters in Washington.

Armadillo's winning vehicle successfully demonstrated some of the technologies needed for a lunar lander capable of ferrying payloads or humans back and forth between lunar orbit and the moon's surface, NASA officials said.

During the ceremony, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin will speak about NASA's commitment to commercial space development and Doug Comstock, director of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program, will present a check for $350,000 to Armadillo Aerospace team leader, John Carmack.

The Armadillo Aerospace team constructed a rocket-powered vehicle that lifted off vertically to a height of 164 feet, flew horizontally to a landing pad 328 feet away, landed safely after at least 90 seconds of flight time and then repeated the flight.