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Unreasonable Rocket’s Lander Flies, Runs Out of Fuel

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 31, 2009
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Unreasonable Rocket flew its Blue Ball lunar lander on Saturday, but the little vehicle ran out of fuel before it could complete two flights in its effort to capture part of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

The company was attempting to win the $150,000 second place prize in Level 1 of the NASA funded competition. The vehicle needed to fly a round trip between two different locations within a 2 hour, 15 minute launch window. Blue Ball ran out of fuel at the end of the outbound leg, settling hard on the landing pad and apparently suffering damage that couldn’t be repaired in time.

Unreasonable Rocket’s failure means that Masten Space Systems will be awarded the $150,000 second place prize for Level 1. Armadillo Aerospace has already claimed the $350,000 first place prize for this level.

On Sunday, Unreasonable Rocket will try for the Level 2 prize using its Silver Ball lander. The vehicle will have to fly a round trip over a more challenging course.

Masten Space Systems is in first place for a $1 million prize, with Armadillo Aerospace in second place for a $500,000 award. Both teams completed the course, but Masten’s vehicle landed more accurately.

Unreasonable Rocket will be the last team to fly in the $2 million competition, which is funded by NASA and run by the X Prize Foundation.