Official recap

The X Prize Foundation, as anticipated, issued a press release Sunday evening reviewing the past two days of the X Prize Cup. The release plays up the fact that Armadillo nearly won the level 1 prize Saturday afternoon despite a busted engine; the release cites fuel line contamination for the igniter problems experienced by Armadillo on Saturday. There’s not much new information about Sunday afternoon’s hard start and fire, which still eludes an explanation. “This weekend, we’ve had more problems that [sic] we’ve had in the last six months,” Armadillo’s Neil Milburn says in the release. “We know what went wrong, but not why.” The release also revises the attendance upwards to “more than” 85,000.

3 comments to Official recap

  • And thanks again for your blogs, tweets,video and images. Thanks for making the effort. Take care. mjl

  • tom

    Armadillo’s problems at the LLCs, Masten’s delays, and Scaled’s issues all boil down to one “basic” issue: propulsion propulsion propulsion. It’s the elephant on the launchpad.

    I think the NASA Centennial challenges probably would be more effective offering several prizes just for reusable propulsion, prior to the LLCs. It’s a tremendous leap to go from an engine test stand to a flight-ready vehicle, and that’s why there’s so few teams that have made the jump, down to Armadillo being the only team directly competing for the prizes.

    With the right restrictions, a series of $300,000-$2 million prizes for best reusable engines would be widely competed for and likely have far more contestants, and result in more advancement for the community than the LLCs have to date.

  • Ashley

    Doing propulsion and a vehicle at the same time isn’t a bad idea. Tankage constraints can drive engine development, and vehicle control systems can influence engines (an engine that chugs may work fine on the test stand, but prevent smooth flight; and you need engine changes to fix POGO, but you won’t see the problem on a static test).

    XCOR has said that they can’t afford to develop an engine for a customer for “just” $500,000, so propulsion alone is a pretty serious problem.

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