First Unreasonable Rocket Flies Briefly, Tips Over on Side

Unreasonable Rocket’s first and second attempts to launch its Blue Ball lunar lander fizzled today. In both attempts, the vehicle rose briefly off the pad, hovered unevenly, settled back down to the surface, and tipped over on its side.

Company CEO Paul Breed and his son, Paul, have called it a day in order to make repairs to the lander. The company has additional launch windows on Saturday at its site in Cantil, Calif. The first window opens at 10 a.m. PDT.

Unreasonable Rocket is attempting both Levels 1 and 2 of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The standings for the NASA-funded Centennial Challenge stands as follows:

Level 1

Armadillo Aeorspace captured the $350,000 first prize last year. This prize money is no longer available.

Masten Space Systems has qualified for the $150,000 second prize.

Unreasonable Rocket can capture second prize if its lander completes the test course and lands more accurately than Masten’s Xoie vehicle.

Level 2

Masten Space Systems is in the lead for a $1 million first prize based on a flight it completed today.

Armadillo Aerospace is in second place and currently in line to receive a $500,000 award.

Unreasonable Rocket could still win either prize if it completes its flights and can land more accurately than either Masten’s or Armadillo’s vehicles did.

In both levels, the lander must take off from a launch site, hover for a period of time, and land on a simulated lunar landing pad. The vehicle must then be flown back to its original launch pad. The accuracy of the vehicle’s landing to the center of the launch pads is a determining factor if all other requirements are met.