The future of lunar landing.



The future of lunar landing.

$2 Million

Prize Purse

Manned lunar exploration used to be the exclusive purview of governmental agencies until the $2M Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE paved the way for a new class of lunar vehicles. Through a unique public–private partnership between Northrop Grumman, NASA and XPRIZE, the winning teams proved that private industry could build, fly, launch, hover and land spacecraft suitable for lunar exploration for a fraction of what the government spends.


  • • Masten Space Systems continues to operate
  • • Armadillo Aerospace is not operating currently, but Exos Aerospace was formed from it and received a Reusable Vehicle Mission Launch License from the FAA in February 2018
  • • All prize money awarded
  • • Teams spent ~$20 million in pursuit of $2 million prize
  • • 7 teams flew a total of 12 different vehicles in pursuit of this prize
  • • Successful public-private partnership

The Grand Challenge

Prior to the competition, space exploration was controlled exclusively by governments, which created astronomical costs that proved unsustainable over time. The result was a stagnant space program, a lack of opportunities for engineers and scientists and a diminishing pool of next generation talent coming from universities. Lack of inspiration and innovation resulted in a market failure where neither the interest nor the funds were available to take the next step in exploring our vast universe for the betterment of humanity.

How They Won

Demonstrated control of their vehicle by flying to an altitude of more than 50 meters (160 ft); flew laterally for 100 m (330 ft), and landed on a pad. For level 1, this pad was a simple 10 m (33 ft) diameter circle; for level 2, it was a simulated lunar surface, complete with craters and boulders. After completing this first flight, the vehicle refueled, and then flew a second leg back to its original starting point


Winning Teams: Masten Space Systems, Armadillo Aerospace

Other teams: Acuity, Bon Nova, Micro Space, Paragon Labs, Speed Up, Team Phoenicia, TrueZer0, Unreasonable Rocket

Prize Purse

$2 million total; Level 2 (harder) and Level 1 (easier) prizes

Level 2: 1st place: $1 million 2nd place: $500,000

Level 1: 1st place: $350,000 Level 1: 2nd place: $150,000

Overview Video

Prize Activity