Level 1 ($350,000) contest called for teams to fly their remote-controlled, rocket-powered landers up to a height of 50 meters (yards), hover for at least 90 seconds, land at another pad 100 meters (yards) away, refuel and then retrace the route — all within 150 minutes.
The Level 2 competition required three-minute hover times for each leg of the two-way trip, plus a more difficult landing on terrain that more closely simulates the rocky, uneven lunar surface.
Armadillo fired up the Pixel vehicle’s rocket engine to start its Level 2 attempt on Saturday morning, but the craft almost immediately tipped onto its side. Afterward, Carmack told reporters that Pixel fell victim to a fuel-line problem. The rocket plume apparently burned through the side of the engine’s nozzle, and the sideways thrust pushed the vehicle over.