WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) congratulates Armadillo Aerospace, the first winner in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The entrepreneurial company received its $350,000 prize today in a ceremony at NASA Headquarters.
The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, part of NASA's Centennial Challenges series, is a two-level, $2 million competition designed to accelerate commercial space technology. The competition motivates companies to develop and prove concepts for space vehicles that could safely ferry humans or cargo back and forth between lunar orbit and the lunar surface.
Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Tex., designed and demonstrated a space vehicle that won the Oct. 24-25 competition when it rose to a height of 50 meters, translated to a landing pad 100 meters away while staying aloft for at least 90 seconds, then landed safely. Later, it repeated the flight. The competition was conducted at Las Cruces International Airport, N.M.
"Northrop Grumman Corporation is extremely proud to sponsor this competition," said Carl Meade, director of Space Systems for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "As the company that designed and built the Apollo Lunar Modules, and as one of NASA's key partners in helping to achieve the nation's vision for space exploration, we believe in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship to meet the challenge."
The X PRIZE Foundation manages the competition on behalf of NASA, which provides the prize money. The first Lunar Lander Challenge was held in October 2006. The Challenge will continue annually until all the money has been awarded, or until October 2010, whichever comes first.
Sponsorship of the competition complements Northrop Grumman's strategic support for educational programs that help create and ensure a technically competent workforce for the future. For example, the company also sponsors the Weightless Flights of Discovery teacher development program.
The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge is supported by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, the State of New Mexico, and Northrop Grumman. The X PRIZE Foundation manages the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge for the NASA Centennial Challenges Program.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Jim Hart Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (310) 331-3616 firstname.lastname@example.org