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Dispute Erupts Over Lunar Lander Challenge Decision

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
October 31, 2009
Filed under

Masten Space Systems Qualifies for $1 Million Prize
“Masten’s qualification flight came at the final Lunar Lander Challenge flight window on Friday morning. During previous windows on Wednesday and Thursday the vehicle experienced communications and plumbing issues. After a small fire on Thursday afternoon the team spent most of the night engineering a solution to a small leak. The solution worked and the team successfully flew the required profile on Friday morning.”
LLC Judging Protest Statement by John Carmack, Founder, Armadillo Aerospace, Competitor, Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge
“The rules have given the judges the discretion to do just about anything up to and including awarding prize money for best effort if they felt it necessary, so there may not be any grounds to challenge this, but I do feel that we have been robbed. I was going to argue that if Masten was allowed to take a window on an unscheduled day with no notice, the judges should come back to Texas on Sunday and let us take our unused second window to try for a better accuracy, but our FAA waiver for the LLC vehicle was only valid for the weekend of our scheduled attempt.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.