Friday, December 21, 2007

Privately-Built Moon Lander Prototype Lifts Off

SpaceDev based in Poway, California launched their lunar lander prototype approximately 35 feet (10.7 meters) into the air on a tether, where it hovered before descending for a careful landing. SpaceDev's test is the first actual test for a hybrid rocket powered lander vehicle. They are working with the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) to land a spacecraft on the south pole of the Moon for astrophysics and communication research. The lander prototype has four hybrid rocket motors that contain both solid and liquid fuel — a combination of non-explosive materials that supposedly reduces the chance for accidents. The liquid fuel also permits throttling by controlling fuel flow and acceleration. SpaceDev has previously worked with Scaled Composites, the Mojave, California based company that built SpaceShipOne, the ship that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize. This project could have some very interesting results hopefully it will be succesful and pulled off as soon as possible. Only time will tell.

The Fool

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