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Welcome to HobbySpace. the site that will prove to you that everyone can participate in space exploration and development in one way or another.
September 2009
Recent Blog Postings
HobbySpace Log:
RLV & Space Transport News:
Recent Features
NG Lunar Lander Challenge 2009
NGLLC 2009 Resources
Links to blog reports, articles, videos, photos, etc. for each round of flights by the teams in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge competition.
Interview: Mark Hempsell
Mark Hempsell of Reaction Engines Ltd is interviewed by Andy Janes for HobbySpace about Skylon, Sabre, & more.
David Ashford
Interview: David Ashford
The founder of Bristol Spaceplanes is interviewed by Andy Janes for HobbySpace about rocketplanes.
Falcon 1 launch
NewSpace 2009
Compilation of blog postings, articles, photos and videos for this conference that took place at NASA Ames in July 2009.
Falcon 1 launch
Space Tourism: A new Industry in the Making
Notes from the one day symposium in London on June 30th, 2009, sponsored by the Royal Aeronautical Society.

More Interviews, Articles, and Special Topics.

Space Art Spotlight
Saturn and Titan Lakes by Steven Hobbs
Saturn & Titan Lakes

Opportunity at Sunrise by Steven Hobbs
Opportunity at Sunrise

Huygens Landing by Steven Hobbs
Huygens Landing

Cassini under Saturn Rings by Steven Hobbs
Cassini under Saturn Rings

New Solar System by Steven Hobbs
New Solar System

Steven Hobbs

More space art...
Space Music Video of the Month
Space Hobbies & Activities in the Spotlight
Ballooning in Near Space

Amateur and student groups have been carrying out high altitude ballooning for many decades. Here are a couple of recent examples of interesting low cost adventures in Near Space:

The BEAR (Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio) project in Edmonton, Canada recently sent a high definition camcorder to 107,145 ft (32.7 km):


Using a helium balloon and a consumer camera, a couple of MIT students were able to get some great pictures at 90k feet (27.4km) for a grand total cost of $150:


It's a Whole New Outer Space Out There

Vertical Takeoff and Landing Rockets in
Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge

The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge (NGLLC) is a competition with $2.0M in prize money from NASA, in which teams must build and fly rockets that can

  • Take off vertically from a pad and rise to 50 meters, translate sideways 50 meters and then come down smoothly onto a second pad. They must then be refueled and flown back to the starting pad along the same path. Both flights must occur within a 2.5 hour window.

  • Remain in the air for 90 secs in the Level I part of the competition and 180 secs in Level II.

  • In Level II, the landing pad has a rocky surface to simulate the lunar terrain.

The goals of the project include:

  • Demonstrating robust fully reusable rocket engines and vehicles.

  • Demonstrating low cost development of sophisticated rocket systems.

  • Development of rocket technology that could someday actually be used for lunar vehicles.

The Armadillo Aerospace team, led by famous compuer game programmer John Carmack, won the $350,000 first place prize for Level I in October 2008. This year they are aiming for the million dollar first place prize for Level II. The first three videos below show Armadillo's successful execution of the two Level II flights on September 12. The team must now wait until the end of October to see if other teams in the competition can complete the Level II flights as well and attain a higher accuracy in the landing.

With streamlining, the Level II vehicle is capable of reaching 100km altitude, the borderline of space. Armadillo has a development program laid out to take the vehicle to space and to fly science and educational payloads.

Other teams in the NGLLC 2009 contest, which ends on October 31st, are aiming for the Level I second place prize of $150,000 as well as both first and second Level II prizes. The fourth video below shows a vehicle from Masten Space Systems that flew the first leg of the Level I competition in Mojave on September 16th. That flight was successful but an engine problem prevented them from carrying out the required return flight. They will have another 2 day window in October to try again. They have a second vehicle to compete for Level II.

The team Unreasonable Rocket will attempt at the end of October to win in both the Level I and Level II prizes. It was recently announced that another team has registered for the 2009 NGLLC but the team has not yet been identified.

The competition is managed for NASA by the X PRIZE Foundation. Northrop Grumman also provides some financial support for the program.

Armadillo Aerospace NGLLC Level II Flights

Masten Space Systems - Level I NGLLC 2009

Check for the latest in leading edge rocket and space travel projects on the Space Transport News blog.

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See the archive of previous HobbySpace homepage Spotlight items ...
August 09 - October 09

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30,588,000 page views since
January 1999.

The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
NewSpace Watch at NSG


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