NGLLXPC 2009: Unreasonable Update

November 1, 2009:

2:00PM PT/22:00 UTC: Unreasonable Rocket had a difficult morning as they battled a control problem that caused oscillations during the tether test. On the fourth and final test, the oscillation caused the vehicle to swing around the crane, severing the tether and causing the vehicle to land on it's side. The peroxide tank was punctured by one of the legs, leaving no opportunity for repair of the vehicle today.

We are so impressed by the effort of the Breeds, and congratulate the team on an impressive showing at their first NGLLC attempt. As mentioned before, they are only the third team to successfully fly the flight profile of the competition, so they have much to be proud of.

This concludes the 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge. We will have another summary post for you tomorrow, along with more videos within the next two days. The awards ceremony will take place in Washington D.C. this Thursday, November 5, 2009.

11:00AM PT/17:00 UTC: The Unreasonable Rocket "Blue" vehicle became the 3rd vehicle in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge to complete the Level I flight profile. Congratulations to the father-son team, Paul Breed Jr. and Paul Breed Sr., for successfully achieving this challenging feat.

The Blue vehicle shot up into the air from Pad A, translated to over Pad B, but ran out of propellant about 5 meters above the pad. The vehicle sustained some damage to the legs and some other equipment, preventing the vehicle from making the return flight to Pad A and ending Unreasonable Rocket's attempt at the remaining Level I prize.

(Photo credit: Andrew Jones, NASA)

By the end of the day, Unreasonable Rocket had their Silver vehicle on the pad and tethered to a crane, ready for it's 45 second qualification test. Those tests are taking place this morning, although UR is experiencing some control issues after about 10 seconds of tethered flight. Representatives from Team Masten are here and helping them troubleshoot. Once the test is complete, the Silver vehicle will be ready to make it's Level II attempt at the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge this afternoon.

As for all other attempts this week, we will webcast the event at, and post updates at

October 31, 2009: Today the X PRIZE crew is out at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) site in Cantil, CA. It is about a 45 minute drive from Masten's site, on some rough dirt roads. The remote site is perfect for testing rockets, however.

The Breeds, the father-son team that makes up Unreasonable Rocket, have built a blue Level I, monopropellant (peroxide) vehicle and a slightly larger silver rocket for Level II. After some issues with an old catalyst pack yesterday, the Breeds worked overnight to repair the vehicle, then replaced the catalyst pack this morning. Some low-pressure tests were run to "warm up" the new cat pack, but unfortunately the results of those tests were not satisfactory. Currently, the team suspects that the peroxide was not warm enough this morning and that was the cause of the poor performance. The peroxide tanks are covered in black blankets and are lying out in the sun to warm up while the UR team works on their Silver vehicle. We expect that the team will be ready to test the Blue vehicle again early this afternoon, perhaps by 1PM PT.

We are live broadcasting at Ustream: Or you can follow updates on Twitter at @ngllc09.

Online video chat by Ustream

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