NASA's Centennial Challenges program awarded $1.65 million in prize money today to the winners of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. Masten Space Systems and Armadillo Aerospace are the two innovative aerospace companies that successfully met the challenge, simulating landing a spacecraft on the moon and lifting off again.
From right to left: Mitch Waldman (Northrop Grumman); Peter Diamandis (X PRIZE); Rep. Ralph Hall; Phil Eaton (Armadillo Aerospace); David Masten (Masten Space Systems); Doug Comstock; Charlie Bolden; George Nield (FAA) › View Full Image
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden along with Doug Comstock, Director of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program, presented first place winner David Masten, CEO of Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., a check for $1 million and Phil Eaton of Armadillo Aerospace, Rockwall, Texas, the second place check for $500,000 for meeting the level 2 requirements of the competition. In addition, Masten received a check for $150,000 for second place in the less demanding level 1 of the competition. Armadillo won the $350,000 first place prize for level 1 last year.
Other leaders from government and industry were on hand to give remarks and help present the awards, including: Congressmen Ralph Hall of Texas and Adam Schiff of California, Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. George Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration; Mitch Waldman, Vice President for Advanced Programs and Technology, Northrop Grumman and Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation.
The competition was managed for NASA by the X PRIZE Foundation. The Northrop Grumman Corporation is a commercial sponsor that provided operating funds to the X PRIZE Foundation. The award ceremony was held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington.
The goals of NASA's Centennial Challenges program's are to drive progress in aerospace technology that is of value to NASA's missions; encourage participation of independent teams, individual inventors, student groups and private companies of all sizes in aerospace research and development; and find innovative solutions to technical challenges through competition and cooperation.
The Lunar Lander Challenge is one of seven Centennial Challenges competitions to date, managed by NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program. The challenge was managed for NASA by the X PRIZE Foundation under a Space Act Agreement. NASA provided all of the prize funds. Commercial sponsorship was provided by Northrop Grumman.
For more information on Centennial Challenges, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ipp/innovation_incubator/cc_home.html