Press Release

Space Frontier Foundation Salutes Lunar Lander Challenge Win

By SpaceRef Editor
June 24, 2010
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Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) leaders have announced that Masten Space Systems is the recipient of the 2010 “Vision to Reality” Award in recognition of their 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge win, with a nearly perfect flight of their Xoie vehicle. The award will be presented to the Mojave, California based rocket firm during the NewSpace Awards Gala, a highlight of the NewSpace 2010 Conference to be held July 23-25 in Silicon Valley, CA.

“Masten’s flight was the culmination of a close race for the prize between them and Armadillo Aerospace, and we expect to see both companies doing great things in the future,” said SFF Chairman Bob Werb. “Masten’s precision lunar flight demonstration shows we can do amazing things at low cost outside of the government, do them quickly, and do them right.”

One of several contenders for the 2010 “Vision to Reality” Award, it was a narrow win for Masten over NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) project that helped confirm water on the Lunar surface. One obvious nominee was SpaceX, for the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket in May, but they were not eligible – having received the award last year for their successful Falcon 1 flight.

“Sometimes progress forward is imperceivable to the public eye, then all within one year we have several great contenders achieving breakthroughs,” said SFF Executive Director, William Watson. “Besides Masten’s accomplishment, NASA’s lunar team really expanded our knowledge base of the resources necessary to live and work on the Moon, and SpaceX keeps doing great things to open the space frontier.”

“Vision to Reality” Award

The “Vision to Reality” Award is bestowed for outstanding achievement in the development and operation of a device, system, or entity that clearly forwards the opening of the space frontier. The winners must actually have succeeded in reaching their goal and the achievements must have taken place within the 12 months prior to call for nominations. Good ideas, business plans, or anything requiring “unobtainium” is not eligible.

The founders of the International Space University were presented the first “Vision to Reality” Award in 1993 and their visionary institution is still a very real success. Dennis Tito took the award in 2001 for becoming the world’s first citizen space explorer, and in 2004 Burt Rutan accepted the Award on behalf of the Scaled Composites team for flying the first private, human-piloted spaceship into space. Other past winners include the Clementine Lunar Orbiter team, Space Adventures, SpaceHab Inc., Celestis Inc., and XCOR Aerospace.

SpaceRef staff editor.