Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congratulations Masten Space Systems

Alright! One more official player in the game. I consider official to be anyone who passes the Level 1 part of the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. So right now we have Masten and Armadillo. Additionally there are more teams set to give this a shot, Team BonNovA on Oct. 26-27 and Team Unreasonable Rocket on Oct. 30-31.

One more step closer the the Moon for us all! Woohoo! :)


Norman Copeland said...

Ok, I'm wondering why some of the teams are now using Aluminum engines, it adds different thrust per cubic inch, but, the vessle inside our atmosphere doesn't translate the power to weight ration with any significant advantages, does it?

The craft didn't look really stable to me, but, the rocket engine did do the job, I'm not sure who will pilot the craft, but, it's safe to say that the husband or wife of the pilot will be 'cheering them on'...

Rich said...

I'm guessing that they're using aluminium as a construction material rather than a propellant, as Armadillo apparently used an aluminium engine with a graphite liner.

In which case, aluminium is light, easy to work with compared to high melting-point alloys and has excellent thermal conductivity if you're using regenerative cooling. All good reasons to use it, although I'm also guessing there are equally good reasons why it hasn't been used up till now!

On a different note - congratulations to Marsten!

I'm curious though as to how heavy their lander was? A quick Google search tells me that Luna 1 weighed about 1500Kg. That's the spacecraft plus third stage booster (for TLI?). A quick look at the SpaceX website tells me that Falcon 9 can launch about 10500Kg to low earth orbit :)

So I'm thinking that Falcon 9 has ample payload capacity to lob some *very* interesting cargos towards the moon!

- Rich

Norman Copeland said...

Though your opinion was entirely guessed it is valid, and brings attentive encouragement for research...