X Prize Cup 2006

This weekend was the annual X Prize show here in Las cruces, NM. For those who are unfamiliar, check out their website http://www.xprizecup.com/. Nations from around the world attended to show off the latest and greatest space and lunar landing technology. I met engineers from England, Germany, Japan and of course from here, the US.

I must say, this was experience was greater than any airshow I’ve attended. I think every astronaut to step foot on the moon was there (maybe not every, but there were about 20 of them you could meet). They had rocket launches every hour, stationary test burns of rocket engines, and competitions left and right.

I must say that my favorite was rocketman. This guy actually strapped a rocket pack to his back, took off vertically, and then raced down the taxiway, stopped turned around waved at the crowd, and then landed! It was awesome, a video clip is available from the website.

Another cool thing. Northrup Grumman has been having a competition for designs of a new lunar lander. There were several teams competing. They had to take off from a launch pad, hover in a vertical position for 90 seconds, then move about 100 meters over to another launch pad and land. Then refuel and do it all again. Pretty spectacular and very loud! The team I witnessed was Team Armadillo. They did a great job but had difficulty at landing and turned it over.

Team Armadillo Lunar Lander

Notice the NVidia sponsorship? Well I had the chance to speak to the pilot of the thing (remotely piloted), and listen to him describe the software he wrote to control it. See if you recognize this guy:

Yes, the same Carmack that wrote Doom and Quake.

More photos and videos are available on the x prize website listed above. If you have the time and spare cash, I definitely recommend coming out next year.

crazy stuff  XD

Ah Las Cruces, how I miss the desolation. :wink:

@mojomonk: You used to live here?

For almost 10 years, graduated from NMSU, worked at PSL for just under 5 years.

I'm graduating from NMSU this spring. Thats neat. When did you leave?

2 1/2 years ago. Lived in the Seattle area for just under 2 years, then moved to Austin.

So I was startin just about the time you got out. I'm in Huey's graphics class right now.

Thats really cool.

McCoy was supposed to be retiring when I had him, that guy just never quits. I bet he doesn't make you use XLib for graphics rendering anymore. :stuck_out_tongue:

No. He's having us do it in Java. How nice, huh? That guy has been there forever, my uncle was a good friend of him when he was there about 15 years ago.

I'll tell him you said hi, I'm going to the class in a couple hours.