Armadillo Aerospace's "Pixel" launch vehicle also competed in last year's competition. (Source: Armadillo Aerospace)

BonNova, founded by the team that won the Ansari X PRIZE, is currently in the design phase for its entry. (Source: BonNova)
Event organizers announced eight of nine teams competing in the NG-LLC event

The X PRIZE Foundation announced eight of nine competitors who will compete in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge (NG-LLC), an event to take place during the Wirefly X Prize Cup.  Originally planned to be four teams, the nine teams will compete for a $2 million prize purse.

The Wirefly X PRIZE Cup features teams of private rocketeers trying to promote technology to help the advancement of space travel.

"We are excited by the number of teams competing this year and their overall level of sophistication," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation.

Eight of the known teams participating:
  • Acuity Technologies, Menlo Park, CA:  Led by Robert Clark, who founded the company in 1992, the team is best known for their designs of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the Department of Defense.
  • Armadillo Aerospace, Mesquite, TX:  Led by id Software's John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace is the only team to fly a vehicle in last year's challenge.
  • BonNova, Tarzana, CA: Led by Allen Newcomb, a winner of the Ansari X PRIZE, the team was founded specifically to win this contest.
  • Masten Space Systems, Mojave, CA:  Led by David Masten, the company is now working on launching tethered flights.
  • Micro-Space, Denver, CO:  Along with Armadillo Aerospace, Micro-Space is the other company who also participated in the Ansari X PRIZE contest.  Micro-Space technology has been successful in the flight of high-powered rockets.
  • Paragon Labs, Denver, CO:  Team Paragon Labs is led by Kevin Sagis, the founder of Paragon, and features 16 industry experts.
  • SpeedUp, Laramie and Chugwater, WY:  The team is led by Robert Steinke, a former worker at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab -- SppedUp has long-term goals to offer low altitude rocket rides to the public.
  • Unreasonable Rocket, Solana Beach, CA: Father-son team of Paul T. Breed and Paul A. Breed want to show the world that a small, family team is able to compete with the teams in the private sector.  The team's vehicles are being built in a garage for under $200K.
The ninth team competing in the contest asked to remain confidential, with Internet rumors speculating that founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin could be a possiblity.  The identity of the ninth team will be revealed 60 days before the start of the contest.

Event organizers expect to fully award the $2 million purse "in what will prove to be an exhilarating showdown between a number of very qualified teams," Diamandis added.

The event will take place October 27-28 at Holloman Air Force Base, located in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

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