At the 2008 Lunar Lander Challenge last October, Rocket Racing and Armadillo Aerospace announced a joint venture to develop vertical takeoff, vertical landing vehicles for suborbital space tourism. However, Armadillo Aerospace founder John Carmark revealed at Space Access ’09 this morning that this deal—at least, as announced in October—has fallen through. Carmack said that while there are relationships with both Rocket Racing and an unnamed third party, the deal as announced “did not come to fruition”. Carmack added, though, that he anticipates making some announcements in the next month that may be related to any suborbital vehicle work.
Carmack also revealed some details about Armadillo’s plans for Level 2 of the Lunar Lander Challenge. He said they are planning now to be ready to compete for the prize when the “season” opens in early July, the first public reference I’m aware of regarding how the X PRIZE Foundation plans to run the LLC this year in lieu of a once-a-year event in New Mexico. Carmack added that they would be prepared to fly again later in the year if someone else successfully completes Level 2 this year with a higher level of accuracy. Flying early, he said, would allow them to then focus their work on other projects rather than LLC vehicles.