X Prize Cup Countdown Event

It was a cold and rainy day in Albuquerque on Sunday. Las Cruces wasn’t much better. Having drove from Arizona the day before, i wasn’t in a mood for another drive. I eventually got my act together and made it to the event by 3 PM. It cost $6 to get in and about $80 in gas to drive there.

Don’t be fooled by the name of the Las Cruces International Airport. It’s a dinky little airport and they were able to completely close it down for this event. They had us park several miles down the highway at the fairgrounds and bussed us to the airport. The area was set up like a fair, with some dubious businesses in the tents. This makes me think this is for real and private space flight will happen for sure.

I missed Armadillo Areospace’s launch of their craft. Despite the 20 mph winds, they were able to launch and control the craft. However on landing it 2 of it’s 3 feet landed off the landing pad and it tipped over. It didn’t explode but was damaged. Carmack and crew were out in the crowd showing off bits and pieces of their rocket. It’s an impressive machine for sure, they are clearly thinking out of the box with their design.

I did get to see XCOR Aerospace fly their rocketplane, which I have on video. It’s a impressive little craft and was flown as if there was no wind. There was lots of wind, the fact that it was blowing parallel with the runway helped.

Starchaser showed off it’s rocked engine. I think it blew up after it was ignited since there was a big boom, but there was no announcement either way.

When I was leaving the event about 5, they only had 2X and 3X t-shirts. Have I mentioned the wind yet, the winds had picked up quite a bit by this time. There’s nothing like 50 mph blowing sand getting in every orifice of your body. I had a handful of sand in my pockets!

I have pictures of the event on Flickr, and will post a video at some point.

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