Press Release

X PRIZE Foundation Announces 2008 Lunar Lander Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
June 5, 2008
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X PRIZE Foundation Announces 2008 Lunar Lander Challenge

Competition to Take Place on October 24 and 25 at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico

The X PRIZE Foundation today announced that the 2008 Lunar Lander Challenge will take place at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, October 24-25, 2008. This year’s competition will be webcast online; the public can follow the action at the X PRIZE Foundation website

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, said, “We are excited about going back to Holloman Air Force Base to conduct the Lunar Lander Challenge this year. We are thankful for the continued support from the state of New Mexico for private spaceflight. The Lunar Lander Challenge is a perfect showcase for the talent and innovation coming from the entrepreneurs who will eventually fly from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Lunar Lander Challenge teams are ready to fly and we are confident that this is the year someone will win the competition.”

The X PRIZE Foundation manages the Lunar Lander Challenge for the NASA Centennial Challenges Program, which provides the prize money for the competition. Andrew Petro, NASA Centennial Challenges Manager, said, “The Lunar Lander Challenge demands precise automatic navigation and control, as well as multiple starts of a rocket engine. These capabilities will be essential in the activities that we envision for our future on the Moon and beyond. The competitors have already demonstrated remarkable skill in previous Lunar Lander Challenges and this year is likely to be even more impressive.” Teams who wish to register for the 2008 competition should send an email requesting the registration forms to The deadline for registration is June 30, 2008.


The Lunar Lander Challenge is a two-level, two million dollar competition requiring a vehicle to simulate trips between the Moon’s surface and lunar orbit. The vehicle is required to rise to a height of 50 meters, translate to a landing pad 100 meters away, land safely, and then return, following the same path. Two levels have been defined: one with smooth landing pads, the other with a replica lunar surface as an additional difficulty. In 2007, eight teams were registered to compete: Acuity Technologies, Armadillo Aerospace, BonNova, Masten Space Systems, Micro-Space, Paragon Labs, SpeedUp, and Unreasonable Rocket.


The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit


Centennial Challenges is NASA’s prize program to promote technical innovation through competitions open to all Americans. The Lunar Lander Challenge is one of seven current competitions designed to tap the nation’s ingenuity in support of NASA’s goals. Centennial Challenges is managed by NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program Office.


Becky Ramsey

Becky Lewis

SpaceRef staff editor.