Belfiore, Boyle and Breed on Space Show this Week


Monday, Nov. 23, 2009, 2-3:30 PM PST: Author Michael Belfiore will discuss his new book, “The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs.”

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, 7-8:30 PM PST: MSNBC science reporter Alan Boyle will discuss his new book, “The Case For Pluto: How A Little Planet Made A Big Difference.”

Friday, November 27, 2009, 9:30-11:30 AM PST : Paul Breed of Unreasonable Rockets.

Sunday, November 29, 2009, 12-1:30 PM PST. OPEN LINES. All topics are welcome. Host David Livingston will make comments regarding space solar power.

Unreasonable Rocket Ends Quest for Lunar Lander Prize

Reports out of Cantil indicate that Unreasonable Rocket has ended its quest to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. During a test flight using a crane and tether, Unreasonable’s Silver Ball lander oscillated, broke the tether, and fell back onto the launch pad on its side. A leg punctured the fuel tank, damaging the vehicle and preventing another flight attempt on the last day of the competition.


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.


Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Launch Attempts Set



The X PRIZE Foundation announced today that three teams have registered to make attempts to win the $1.65 million still available in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.  The teams include:

* Armadillo Aerospace will attempt to claim a Level 2 purse from Caddo Mills, TX, on September 12 and 13.
* Masten Space Systems will attempt to claim purses in both levels from Mojave, CA, on September 15-16 (Level One), October 7-8 (Level Two), and October 28-29 (Level Two).
* Unreasonable Rocket will attempt to claim purses in both levels from Cantil, CA, on Oct 30-31.


Update on Unreasonable Rocket

An update from Paul Breed on the testing of his Unreasonable Rocket engine:

We went out to FAR and tested our H2O2 and Kerosene regen Motor.We ran it in Mon0-prop mode then in Bi-prop mode. It took a awhile to light in bi-prop mode, but We ran to about 80% throttle without damage in biprop mode. The Video does not really do it justice as it seems to have “sampling” effects. The Monolithic cat pack is clearly not getting good decomposition, probably leading to slow ignition. We need to rework the system test software so we can independently vary the proportions rather than have a fixed schedule. I have not yet reduced the data, but I’ll do that in the next 24 hours and post the result.

It was a long day and when we packed up we failed to notice a melted spot on one of the vehicle tie down straps and being tired we did not double up as we usually do. So the front strap failed and the vehicle left the truck on the dirt road leaving FAR. The road is really rough and we were going about 40mph, we did not notice the vehicle depart. We noticed it was gone and had to drive back 1.5 miles to find it. Other than a cracked mounting tab and broken fitting on top of two the small stainless spheres it was largely undamaged. We were lucky.

Read more on Paul’s blog.