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Armadillo Aero One Step Closer To Space

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the junior-birdman dept.

Space 213

RobertB-DC writes "The folks at Armadillo Aerospace have taken another step toward the X-Prize, dropping their re-entry vehicle from 2000 feet with no major problems noted. As usual, the Armadillo crew documented the event with text, pictures and video, and the story is also covered by (though without as many cool technical details). It's a bumpy ride, though -- instruments recorded some 10 G's on touchdown."

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10 Gs? (4, Funny)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397309)

Were their inertion dampening fields down?

Re:10 Gs? (0)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397315)

So it would feel like I was 10 times my normal weight? Yowza!

Re:10 Gs? (-1, Offtopic)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397327)

^ First post, I just realised.

Also, inertia instead of "inertion" obviously.

Mod parent up funny, mod this post down offtopic, karma unharmed. ;-)

Re:10 Gs? (0) (156602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397454)


Re:10 Gs? (1)

LooseChanj (17865) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397625)

Wouldn't 10 g's on touchdown cause death by deceleration trauma?

Re:10 Gs? (5, Interesting)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397729)

Wouldn't 10 g's on touchdown cause death by deceleration trauma?

Bah. During the cold war, the air force did studies using a rocket sled, led by Dr. John P. Stapp [] that showed that 10Gs is nowhere near fatal. From the page:

By riding the decelerator sled himself, Dr. Stapp demonstrated that a human can withstand at least 45 G's in the forward position, with adequate harness. This is the highest known G force voluntarily encountered by a human.

I suppose the "with adequate harness" part can't be stressed enough, but there's nothing automatically fatal about 10Gs.

Dr. Stapp sounds like a pretty unique guy, and his work led to more survivable crashes in both aircraft and automobiles. I'm giving you One last chance to click on his biography [] , since I really want you to read it. :).

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397310)

first post from me, matt

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397357)

You fail it! Your skill is not enough! See you next time! Bye-bye!

In Soviet Russia, Beowulf clusters YOU, you insensitive clod!


Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397367)

that is so off-topic i forgot to laugh

Slashdot'ed Already (1)

Vesperi (10991) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397320)

Damn, like 3 comments.....

Full text, posting as AC (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397360)

Helicopter Drop Test me/Widget`s Corner?news_id=214 []

We finished up all of the prep work for the vehicle on Tuesday. We welded in strapping points to hold 600 pounds of passenger sandbags in the cabin area, and we mounted five 45 pound Olympic barbell plates on a peg at the end to simulate the weight of the final engines, plumbing, and backup recovery system that will be on the full size vehicle. We mounted four 2 throat engine shells as placeholders. Total weight is just under 2400 pounds. We use a combination of multiple chain hoists, a palette jack, and a forklift to move the full vehicle around and get it up on the trailer, but we did wind up breaking one of the castor wheels that we had mounted on our tank cradle. If we wind up having to use the 1600 gallon propellant tank (the current one is 850 gallons), we arent going to be able to stand the vehicle up under the main girder inside our shop, which will be inconvenient.

On Saturday, we headed out to our test site for the drop test. There were quite a few stares on the road in transit We had a few spatters of rain, and the wind occasionally gusted to 12 knots, but we were able to perform the drop in relatively calm 6 knot winds.

Anna rented a big RV for the day, which was very worthwhile. It was nice to be able to take a break in an air-conditioned space.

5 State Helicopters arrived with a big Sikorsky for the lifting. It was very convenient that they were based close by, and didnt have a problem with our unusual application (although they did have us contact the local mayor and sheriff for explicit permission). We were very impressed with the precision that they were able to do the lifting we were afraid that the vehicle might get dragged or bounced on the crush cone, which could buckle it before the test even started, but they were able to perfectly pivot it up on the nose, and gently lift it off the ground. If we had known they were that precise, we probably could have skipped renting the forklift truck for recovery and just had them lower the rocket back onto the trailer after the test.

We made several 18 diameter test parachutes that were weighted to drift at about the same rate that the full size parachute was expected to fall. We did the test drop from 1500 AGL, under the assumption that the big vehicle would fall several hundred feet before the main chute was fully deployed. The landing point for the test parachute was satisfactory, so we planned the full vehicle drop for 2000 AGL. Neil rode in the helicopter to do the parachute releasing, and Anna hung out the side of the helicopter (with a safety strap) to get aerial footage.

We had to abort our first attempt to drop the vehicle, because the line that we ran from the helicopter to the Sea-Catch toggle release above the rocket had wrapped itself around the chain so many times that Neil couldnt pull it hard enough to trigger the release. This was fixed by tying loose loops of plastic every few feet along the chain, which kept the pull-line in place.

On the second try, the release worked perfectly. You can clearly see the naturally unstable aerodynamics of the vehicle, as it starts to tip over almost immediately after release. We all held our breath as it started to fall, but the drogue immediately inflated and started pulling the main canopy out. It was nine seconds from release to full canopy inflation. The opening shock was negligible, barely hitting 2Gs. For high altitude flights, we are aiming for a 200 mph terminal velocity under the stabilizer drogue at the time of main canopy deployment, so opening shock will be much greater then.

The wake of the main canopy is so great that the deployment drogue just rests on the canopy during descent, without any inflation at all. The real deployment system will have a much longer line on the drogue (because it is used for vehicle stabilization before deploying the main), which will probably cause it to trail behind the main chute, still inflated.

The drift was going about where we expected, but we were a little concerned when we saw that the vehicle was oscillating +/- 13 degrees under the canopy, which is a pretty big swing at that length. The actual landing point was unfortunately just behind some low foliage, so we didnt get a perfect shot of it, but we did see it hit at enough of an angle that it rolled almost back upright as it landed.

We ran over to collapse the chute and examine the state of the vehicle. The crush cone had buckled right at the mounting point from the angled impact, but the vehicle looked basically sound. None of the sandbags in the cabin had broken open. Two of the engine support studs were bent from when it tipped back up.

We had the helicopter pick it back up and drop it off by the trailer, which was a lot more convenient than driving the lift truck over to the vehicle.

When we got it back to the shop, we pulled some things apart to take a closer look. The bent mounting studs unscrewed right out of their mounts, so replacing those is trivial. We are considering adding some more bracing below the engine plates, which would probably keep them from bending at all. When we got the crush cone off, we did find that the cabin had been bent right at the end of the cone, and the buckle in the crush cone had pushed in far enough to crease the honeycomb bulkhead.

We are probably going to continue using this cabin for the first couple flights of the big vehicle, but start on a second-generation cabin structure that will incorporate some improvements for off-angle landings, as well as several other lessons we have learned in working with the current cabin. Because we bonded a mounting flange to the tank, we should be able to simply swap the cabin when we want to.

The accelerometer data showed 10G acceleration peaks during the landing and bounce, which is over twice what we saw with the straight down drop tests that collapsed perfectly. This is still acceptable, although bouncing up and back down in the cabin would have been a pretty harsh ride. Making some changes to the vehicle structure will improve the behavior of the crush cone and over tipping effects, and we are going to see if Strong Enterprises can do anything with the canopy design to reduce the oscillations during descent.

Overall, the operation was a good success, and demonstrates that recovering the complete vehicle after flight should work fine.

The test video is 23 megs, incorporating footage from three cameras: one on the nose of the vehicle, one on the ground, and one in the helicopter: icopterDropTest.mpg []

Images from my camera on Tuesday: dOn.jpg [] ded.jpg [] eTest.jpg [] ette.jpg [] nding.jpg []

Images from Matt: 3-07-01_a.jpg [] 3-07-01_b.jpg [] 3-07-01_c.jpg [] 3-07-01_d.jpg [] 3-07-05_a.jpg [] 3-07-05_b.jpg [] 3-07-05_c.jpg [] 3-07-05_d.jpg [] 3-07-05_e.jpg [] 3-07-05_f.jpg [] 3-07-05_g.jpg [] 3-07-05_h.jpg [] 3-07-05_i.jpg []

Images from Russ: 801-R1-1A.jpg [] 801-R1-2A.jpg [] 801-R1-3A.jpg [] 801-R1-4A.jpg [] 801-R1-6A.jpg [] 801-R1-8A.jpg [] 801-R1-13A.jpg [] 801-R1-16A.jpg [] 801-R1-17A.jpg [] 801-R1-19A.jpg [] 801-R1-20A.jpg [] 801-R1-21A.jpg [] 801-R1-24A.jpg []

Re:Full text, posting as AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397508)

Is this in case the google cache goes down WTF???

Slashdotted already! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397321)

Perhaps they dropped their server from 2000 feet also!

Re:Slashdotted already! (1)

Magila (138485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397856)

Steve Gibson must have been carrying it.

Finally! (5, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397323)

Now they're getting somewhere. John Carmack finally quit trying to win the prize by running at brick walls and firing a Stinger missile at the ground.

Re:Finally! (1)

lars-o-matic (533381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397379)

aka "frog blast the vent core"?

heh. Makes me want to fire up Marathon for the first time in ages...

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397546)

No, AKA quake rocket jumping.

Re:Finally! (1)

TotallyUseless (157895) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397566)

this is already modded to +5 so i cant mod it more. just wanted to let you know, this was one of the funniest things i have ever read on slashdot. congrats

Break even? (5, Funny)

grennis (344262) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397331)

instruments recorded some 10 G's on touchdown

I'm not sure how much it costs to put this thing up. But, at 10 G's per touchdown, a bunch of more of these and they may get close to breaking even!

What does 10G's have to with bumpiness? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397332)

It could be a very smooth, fast drop.

Re:What does 10G's have to with bumpiness? (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397714)

well, since the 10Gs were only at touchdown, id say thats at least one bump. sure, it could be a very gradual bump, but I doubt it. and anyways, any maneuver that produces 10Gs in the atmosphere is gonna be bumpy due to turbulence and air density.

as the old saying goes... (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397778)

It could be a very smooth, fast drop.

As the old saying goes about leaping off a bridge, it's not the trip down that sucks- it's the ending.

The joke among some pilots, after a hard landing, is the term "unintentional ground contact."

Ever see a dead Armadillo? (-1, Offtopic)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397337)

With their carcasses split in two and the blood boiling on the hot Texas highway, the stench of these evolutionary wrong turns rotting is enough to make a man wish his face were torn off so that he wouldn't have to smell the dead critter.

Good luck on not crashing and burning, Armadillo Aerospace!

Re:Ever see a dead Armadillo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397363)

Good luck on not crashing and burning, Armadillo Aerospace!

If their rocket is anything like their webserver the passengers will be dead at the first sign of trouble.

Re:Ever see a dead Armadillo? (3, Funny)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397375)

I've seen a dead armadillo, but I've never seen a dead armadillo cooked in rocket fuel. That would be new.

Something just occurred to me (4, Interesting)

carl67lp (465321) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397339)

Lately, we've been hearing more and more about the X Prize and the amateur (and not-so-amateur) aerospace engineers taking part.

I suspect that the recent projects are to the government-sponsored space programs as open source software is to commercial software. True, the fundamental ideas /might/ be different, but the goals are the same: Take something that you can't have general access to, make it your own, and make it better. Then contribute that idea to the general public.

In an era when people are becoming more and more concerned with manned space flight, I think projects and contests like this are the only way possible to get humanity into the heavens. Governments will always be under pressure to reduce spending; it will only be with enthusiasts that we make it to our proper place in space.

(This isn't to say, of course, that a non-government-sponsored flight will be the first to Mars. This is simply to say that it will be the space enthusiasts who shed the light on the important facts about space and its wealth of knowledge.)

Re:Something just occurred to me (3, Insightful)

RocketScientist (15198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397430)

(extremely off-topic reply follows) Governments aren't under pressure to reduce spending. Governments are under presure to increase spending to things like invading other countries, giving money and food to people who don't work, figuring out new and different ways to screw citizens out of natural resources, "saving the environment", and studies to make sure that we're all aware that drinking beer is bad for us. So they have to simultaneously tax the crap out of anybody that makes money and cut a lot of things that are really worthwhile, like pure research and rocket science.

Private enterprise really is the best way to get to space. I just hope when they colonize mars they remember exactly why a government that that could get to the moon can't even reliably send people into orbit and bring them back anymore, and set up their government with the additional checks and balances to keep from repeating those mistakes.

I'm not bitter or anything though. Just because it's right after the end of a quarter and all.

Re:Something just occurred to me (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397474)

Governments will always be under pressure to reduce spending

usbudget.historical.xls []

The only years that government spending have gone down(adjusted for inflation) are 1945-48, 1953-56 and 1968-70.

The pressure they are under is not to reduce spending, it is who gets the handouts.

Re:Something just occurred to me (1)

Plix (204304) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397590)

"Governments" in this context means the United States. Lets face it, the Russian space program is in financial ruin (along with the rest of the country) and the rest of the space programs in the world are far behind that (even if not in technology, then certainly in experience) of the US.

That said, because of recent events (the Columbia disaster) NASA is under even more fire. The public is crying for increased safty from an agency with a continually reduced budget (state of the economy, republican president, whatever you want to blame it on) and NASA simply cannot afford to continue manned space flight - the recoil from another accident would be disasterous. It has been said elsewhere (and it's quite true) that private enterprise is the only avenue through which manned space exploration can be continued reasonably because PR damage control has less far-reaching implications with respect to a private organization and said organization does not have to explain it's spending to tax payers.

Re:Something just occurred to me (2, Insightful)

fname (199759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397645)

It's a very good point. The government resources clearly outmatch any private company at this point, and probably will for some time. The big problem is, space stuff is risky and expensive, and no one can really see the return on capital that they need to take the risks. Boeing, Lockheed, always need some government contracts to pay for the development before it makes sense to build a new rocket.

Of course, the engineers at NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, etc., are brilliant, and I'm sure they'd love to be doing this stuff. But that's not what Boeing pays them to do. and real rockets are a lot more expensive than computers. Plus, you can try new things and let them fail fairly risk-free in the computer world; not true in rocket science.

So while these "amateur" (quotes is b/c none of these groups are really amateurs. They are professionals doing this on the side) will come up with some very clever ideas, the government may be in the best position to exploit them. Which is fine, and I bet these guys would be happy if that were there legacy. And if Armadillo, or more likely Scaled Composites, comes up w/ a sustainable business propoisition, then this will get a lot more interesting.

[ Warning: Rocket Science humor ahead. ] In fact, if things go right, after the X-prize is won, this space thing will take off like a rocket-- and more like a Delta II-heavy than a Delta IV medium, if you know what I mean!

Now I Know (1)

The Dobber (576407) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397340)

What Carmack's choice in sneakers is..... 00 3-07-05_f.jpg

ROFLOL (5, Funny)

matth (22742) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397344)

From the website:

Too many users... blah blah blah

Probable cause:

Try again in a few seconds...

Google cache... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397350)

Is already down?

Here's the google cache []

In case of Slashdotting (2, Informative)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397352)

This [] links right to the video and the pics are here []

In case of slashdotting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397405)

post links to the slashdotted site? The fuck?

Re:In case of slashdotting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397495)

The media are on a different server. I am getting the video at 55KB/s and I can't access the web site.

Re:In case of Slashdotting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397596)

What are you retarded? If the website goes down (and it did, yes, even with your magic retarded links) linking to something on the website is worthless. Fool.

Re:In case of Slashdotting (0, Redundant)

The Dobber (576407) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397660)

Thanks for pointing that out, Mr T.

10 G's presents a real barrier (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397354)'ll be a while before any boyband rock stars make this trip. Sigh.

At least contests like this *slightly* increases the chance I'll ever see space travel for the masses in my lifetime.

10 g's? So what! (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397366)

That's not bad at all. That's about what you get when you plop down in a chair.

Re:10 g's? So what! (5, Informative)

charnov (183495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397423)

Depends on many milliseconds of duration. Humans have been shown to take 35 G's for very short durations (belted head on collision at 50 mph for example), but anything over about a 100 milliseconds and your organs (and bones) tend to go a little mushy.

Indeed it landed, (0, Funny)

spudchucker (680073) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397381)

apparently on their webserver.

How many niggers does it take to eat an armadillo? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397382)

Q : How many niggers does it take to eat an armadillo?

A : Two. One to direct traffic, and one to eat it.

Slashdotted? (2, Funny)

Snoe (114590) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397384)

Is the site slashdotted already or did they drop the vehicle on their web server?

Wow, that's cool! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397386)

Are they using open-source applications on their project?

10 Gs (5, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397389)

Crash rated seats for military helicopters are rated to take 50G down to 20G so I wouldn't think 10G would be a problem to deal with.

Re:10 Gs (2, Interesting)

twostar (675002) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397528)

except that they've only fallen 2000ft, any guesses as to if the test vehicle made it to terminal velocity?

Re:10 Gs (2, Interesting)

thebigmacd (545973) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397603)

No answer. The article at shows the craft PARACHUTING to the ground. I'm sure terminal velocity was attained quite quickly. Ewwww...10 Gs upon landing, WITH a parachute.

Re:10 Gs (2, Insightful)

child_of_mercy (168861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397632)

thats a drogue design issue, and comes back to weight questions, its easily done if weight is no object (as with most things in spacecraft design)

but 100 yards of kevlar ribbon will bring terminal velocity down a long, long ways.

and there are better designs still.

Re:10 Gs (2, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397665)

I think the weak link here for most people here would be their own posteriors. I've personally only experienced maybe 3 Gs or so on various carnival rides, and with those I'm pretty much on my back. Nobody this side of a fighter pilot does anywhere near 10 Gs, especially in a near-sitting position. Heck, not even astronauts do that any more.

Re:10 Gs (2, Informative)

Magila (138485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397808)

A 10G jolt isn't as bad as it sounds, figher pilots only have to worry because they experiance high Gs for relativly long periods of time. People can take 20Gs or more over a fraction of a second without too much trouble assuming they're well restrained.

Armadillos in Space (1)

jrivar59 (146428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397392)

When is that going to be the headline?

Reinventing the wheel (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397399)

Why isn't NASA coming out with a new orbiter. Shouldn't there be one by now?

Re:Reinventing the wheel (1)

HyperMind (628041) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397673)

Because of the costs of developing the hardware in the first place. That, and the collosal failure of the Space Shuttle concept to live up to the over-stated sales hype.

some 10G's??? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397407)

It's a bumpy ride, though -- instruments recorded some 10 G's on touchdown.

Good thing they only recorded some 10 G's. If those 10 G's had been present all over the craft, who knows what kind of complications could have arisen. I'm sure the design team will find a way to spread those 10 G's throughout the craft, reducing the overall readings to a manageable 2 or 3 G's.

sheesh... (1)

quan74 (451034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397412)

I for one hope their aircraft holds up to the rigors of space flight better than their site holds up to a slashdotting.
I suppose they're spending all their money on the project and not their website though :)

Anyway, my money is on Burt Ratan and the crew at Scaled Composites [] . They seem to have a solid idea and enough backing to actually get this done. Not to mention they have a cooler name (who ever heard of a flying armadillo?).

Re:sheesh... (1)

Frodo2002 (595920) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397461)

Its Burt Rutan

The Problem is... (2, Informative)

Frodo2002 (595920) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397422)

..The problem with these people is that their movie clips are waaaay too large. They could reduce their movie file sizes by a factor of 5. I am sure that would alleviate some of the pressure on their server... Has noone pointed this out to them?

Info direct from the armadillo's mouth . . . (5, Informative)

Darth_Foo (608063) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397434)

John Carmack is a semi-regular poster to on usenet; he's posted several times today with details of his test plans and schedules. Even if the company site is slashdotted, go do a Google Groups search on him and the* groups and you'll get all his publically-available info, straight from the source.

Re:Info direct from the armadillo's mouth . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397624)

Carmack posts on slashdot also...

Re:Info direct from the armadillo's mouth . . . (1)

Araxen (561411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397694)

How many of you guys just subscribed to and usenet? I know I did!

Re:Info direct from the armadillo's mouth . . . (1)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397748)

Man, it's like his posts here about video cards.
Our 2' diameter subscale vehicle is ready to test almost all the primary required systems -- servo valve differential throttling (as opposed to the solenoid based differential throttling used on our previous systems) [of course!], drogue cannon stabilization after burnout, and main canopy release at a particular altitude. We should also be able to fly that transonic. We would have flown it by now if our propellant issues were resolved.

Whatever. I'll just watch the videos and ooh and ahh. Everything he types makes me feel like a retard.

Gimme a Break (1)

Blastus (686728) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397439)

The freakin thing is powered by hydrogen peroxide and crash lands on it's nose. Are you goin up in it? Rutan has the X prize wrapped up.

You're absolutely right. (5, Interesting)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397525)

Visit and you'll see who's going to win the X-Prize. Burt Rutan designer of the famous Voyager, the plane that made the first non-stop flight around the world.

This guy has been engineering exceptional aircraft for years. Father of one of the most radical and popular homebuilt aircraft designs ever.

J.C. has an interesting background and obviously the mind of an engineer, but no one is going to catch up with Rutan's design which resembles the X-15 project of the 1960's.

If someone at Scaled Composites is reading... Can I have a job? Yeah, like that will happen...

Re:You're absolutely right. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397565)

It's a shame to see such a proud shoe worn by someone who never runs.

I shead a tear for NewBalance.

Re:You're absolutely right. (4, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397630)

but no one is going to catch up with Rutan's design
No one outside of Rutan's organisation really knows how far advanced Rutan's project is, so it's a bit hard to say if he's in the lead or not. Certainly when it was first announced and the website went up there were several pictures that had been doctored to make it look like things where more advanced than they actually were. Rutan lost some credibility in my eyes with that.

K.I.S.S. (2, Insightful)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397638)

That X-15ish engineering may be Scaled's achellies heel. Remember that the well financed front-runner for the Orteig prize crashed the day before Lindberg took off.

I'm hopeing that both teams get their first launch within days of eachother, so that a media frenzy occurs before the winning launch.

Re:You're absolutely right. (2, Informative)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397720)

I'll give it to Rutan's Scaled Composites group, too. =)

Mostly because unlike most of their competitors, Rutan's extensive experience with highly-advanced aerospace materials and unusual aircraft design shows he has the expertise that can build a successful X-Prize competitor. Besides, the research from SpaceShipOne could evolve into something that people long for: relatively cheap access into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

There were proposals to build a small spaceplane in the late 1980's that could fly into space from the back of a modified 747 that has been fitted with a rocket motor that provides the initial boost before the spaceplane launches from the 747 and flies on its own power to LEO; Rutan has the expertise to build such a vehicle, one that could carry as many as seven crew or its equivalent cargo load to the International Space Station.

10 Gs? (-1, Troll)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397455)

Ten Gs? That's an insane amount, enough to kill any human, that's for sure.

I still think the X-Prize starlights belongs to Scaled Composities [] and their White Knight/SpaceShipOne

Re:10 Gs? (2, Interesting)

zapp (201236) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397471)

Actually, 10G's is just enough to make a human pass out.

This is measured not as a sudden impact, but as a multiple of gravity. IE: when you're in a plane and they pull up sharp, you experience maybe 2x gravity.

Armageddon (2, Funny)

KU_Fletch (678324) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397676)

I choose to base my logic on the movie Armageddon where people can cheerily pull 18 G's on the backside of the moon.... before landing on an asteroid... and blowing it up...

perhaps i need to find a new base for my logic...

Re:10 Gs? (1)

Bugmaster (227959) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397510)

Actually, I recal reading somewhere that some roller coasters achieve 10g in places. Actually, I was on a roller coaster that had a warning sign posted; the sign said that the coaster achieves 6g and thus pregnant mothers with history of heart failure should not get on it. It was a fun ride.

Re:10 Gs? (4, Informative)

mlyle (148697) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397527)

You, sir, are an idiot.

As you can see from this link [] , the baseline for federal tests for preventing injury in automobile crashes is 130 G's-- this is after significant portions of the deceleration have been dampened by restraint systems and portions of the vehicle collapsing. Fighter pilots in pressure suits routinely pull 10Gs without even blacking out.

Fighter pilots... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397538)

...are trained to cope with up to 9G's in combat dogfighting. Above that, pilots start to pass out.

However - as pointed out elsewhere, *duration* is also important. If you have squishy seats, for example, they can easily reduce the force of a brief jolt (say, touching down) - but after a fraction of a second, they compress and the occupant has to take the full force themselves.

In other words: 9G's isn't too much, especially for a first flight. It's perfectly survivable (unless you're like 600lb - you'd burst) but I'm sure they'll soften it out a little by the time they fly for real.

Re:10 Gs? (2, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397654)

Ten Gs? That's an insane amount, enough to kill any human, that's for sure
No. Do some research.
I still think the X-Prize starlights belongs to Scaled Composities and their White Knight/SpaceShipOne
Keep in mind that Rutan's project will cost considerably more than 10 million, while Carmack's will cost a few million tops. Even if Rutan does win the X-Prize, if Carmack makes it to space then his will be greater achievement, IMHO.

Re:10 Gs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397675)

I know, most people I know have trouble surviving in even 1 or 2 Gs.

Re:10 Gs? (3, Informative)

Araxen (561411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397752)

Stole from usenet group
"M. Scott" wrote in message news:...
> John Carmack wrote:
> > We did the helicopter drop test of our X-Prize vehicle with parachute
> > system and crushable nose on Saturday.
> Great video! Congratulations on your progress and I look forward to
> reading about more of your exploits!
> I have one question, though. If there had been a man in the vehicle
> during that drop test, would he have been severely injured? The landing
> looked rough-- much rougher than in the SA'03 nose cone test, for
> instance.

The acceleration spikes were only 10G, which is not much of a problem
with a harness and padding. The roll-up-and-fall-back-down behavior
would certainly be pretty rough, so we hope to reduce that
behaviorwith some changes to the cabin top lip, the parachute, and the
tail supports.

The X-Prize could be had with the landing as-is.

John Carmack

Google link: &oe=UTF-8&threadm=c0e0a1dd.0307071735.5f09aa08%40p acceleration%2Bspikes%2Bwere%2Bonly%2B10G%252C%2Bw hich%2Bis%2Bnot%2Bmuch%2Bof%2Ba%2Bproblem%26ie%3DU TF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26hl%3Den%26btnG%3DGoogle%2BSear ch )

I want Doom 3 (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397470)

Stop playing with those rocket thingys and go finish your job!

Obligatory Physics snob comment... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397496)

It should actually be written "10 g's", with 'g' in lower case, as this refers to 10 times the normal acceleration, while "G" the capital letter refers to something entirely different.

Re:Obligatory Physics snob comment... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397712)

Yeah, 'G' as in 'Geek.'

You think this is gonna be... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397501)

like on Austin Powers, where they see the Big Boy on the radar?

Commander, there seems to be a... armadillo... across the scanner. Honestly, I don't see why anyone would not have sex with Archie Bunker. I mean, come on. His dick is so supple it that I just can't help but fuck it with my cold, sweaty palms. It makes me feel like I'm working for the Vatican again! When it gets right down to it, props to all the slashdot trolls you're my homies my nizzles. Archie Bunker troll ownz you penisbird fewls!

10Gs? (1)

arhines (620963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397504)

Isn't that pretty low? Pilots can sustain 9G while flying (not very easily, but they can do it), and Colonel John Paul Stapp took 40Gs in a rocket sled [] in 1951! I wouldn't be too worried about 10...

Re:10Gs? (4, Funny)

The Dobber (576407) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397686)

Yeah, but they are probably in pretty good physical condition. Your average geek gets woozie just bending over to pick up that stray cheese doodle.

I Smell A Rat (2, Funny)

wbav (223901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397513)

Anyone else think this is wrong? When touching down 10 G's? The most G's would be on lift off, not touch down, and 10 is just plain nuts. Come on. If you think of a plane, and touchdown, you are going in the same direction of gravity, not against it.

I mean conceptually, the article doesn't make sense, and I hope people will realize that.

Re:I Smell A Rat (1)

putaro (235078) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397555)

It's called sudden deceleration. Look into it.

Re:I Smell A Rat (4, Informative)

Tmack (593755) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397579)

uhh ever take physics? g forces are a measure of acceleration in reference to the standard acceleration of freefall on earth. Since they are saying 10g's at touchdown, that means the acceleration at tuchdown is 10*g(9.8M/s/s), or about 98M/s/s. Since mass*acceleration=force, your mass*98m/s/s==the downward force you would create on this landing. Using g's, you remove the unit dependance, making it easier to create estimates such as "at 10g's a person weighing 180Lbs would feel like they weigh 1800Lbs". What is also important but not mentioned is the duration and delta of this acceleration.


Re:I Smell A Rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397601)

Did you watch the video? The craft smashes straight down into the ground. It does not land on wheels.

Re:I Smell A Rat (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397611)

Naah, the problem is that you don't make sense. The G force when landing is a deceleration. If you were doing 10 metres per second and stopped in one tenth of a second that would be 10 G, and you would possibly feel bruised but would usually survive.

OTOH, if they could manage ten G going upwards, all they have to do is maintain that for about thirteen minutes and they would be in orbit. But ten G for that long is rather demanding...

Re:I Smell A Rat (1)

lurking (51269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397689)

Well..... When a moving object mects meets an immovable object. What happens?

Solution to 10g touchdown (1)

Pacorro (16464) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397533)

Put Carmack on the controls, and try a rocket jump move to reduce the g's.

Missin the Point (2, Insightful)

Blastus (686728) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397617)

The X prize is about paving the way for paying customers to get to space. It's about developing a cheap re-usable space craft to do it. Lighting off hair chemicals for launches and crashing for landings? You gonna pony up for that? Go ahead. I'll call Rutan for my flight, thanks.

it run linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397633)

it run linux?


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397635)

Following my work researching The Linux Gay Conspiracy, I am saddened to announced that I have discovered yet another orgy of perverted hetrophobic values. My claim lies with the Slashdot mangement.

First, what kind of name is Slashdot? This is obviously a code word in the homosexual community for something perverted.
Slashdot is an anagram of LAD SHOTS, which refers to Slashdot's pedophile agenda and T ASS HOLD, which refers to some gay sexual posistion that Michael and CmdrTaco enjoy.

The 'editors' of Slashdot, as they call themselves, are homosexual swingers with cleverly disguised nicknames.

CmdrTaco [] is the "head" honcho of Slashdot. Cmdr obviously refers to his desire to dominate over his gay partners, and Taco is obviously a sly reference to his colon.

Michael Sims [] , who goes as 'michael' on Slashdot, is a well known thug [] and advancer of homosexual agenda. His name is an anagram of ASS CHIME MIL which obviously refers to his desire to flaunt his lower organ.

Father Randy "Pudge" O'Day [] is Slashdot's Mac propagandist. Macintosh computers are well known as the Gay computer due to their homosexual colors and stylings. An email exchange between 'Pudge' and Apple HQ have been leaked by a former Apple employee who converted to hetrosexuality. These two emails (here [] and here [] ) have been repeatedly posted on Slashdot, but are quickly censored by Slashdot moderators who do not want the public to know about its agenda.

Simoniker [] , a recent addition to Slashdot has been uncovered as Mr. Goatse [] himself. Simoniker is a frequent poster to the Games section of Slashdot, obviously because he enjoies modded versions of Quake 3 and UT2K3 as a homosexual warrior who likes to 'overcome' his opponents with his exagerated sized love member. In addition, Simoniker is an anagram of KEN I RIM SO (Ken is probably his current boyfriend) and MEN I IRK SO (which refers to his frustratingly troubled gay relationships, probably due to his rather large asshole).

This is only a rough draft and perliminary report. Please reply with additional information, contributions, and corrections. I will include any additional information and credit you with it in my further releases of this report.

Oh wow!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6397652)

parachutes work.

Late again (2, Interesting)

apsmith (17989) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397659)

RocketForge [] had a link to this posted 3 days ago! So I got to see the video before you guys slashdotted the server :-)

Video Torrent (5, Informative)

heli0 (659560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397701)

BitTorrent of the Video here: Test.mpg.mpeg.torrent []

It works ! connection speed 5 - 60 kb sec. (0)

zymano (581466) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397749)

no comment

Is this NEWS worthy ? (0)

zymano (581466) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397773)

their project seems scientificly suspect.

Armadillo first in space? (3, Funny)

dogfart (601976) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397843)

seems like a lot of trouble to squach an armadillo. Usually speeding cars do just fine.

Just curious (1, Offtopic)

Obiwan Kenobi (32807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6397872)

I'm not flamebaiting here, I'm generally curious:

With John C's cash, don't you think he could afford some bandwidth?

I mean, seriously, how many times has he been /.'d with this website that they keep hi-res pics and videos on?

He doesn't have to have a monster monthly bill to suffice, but at the very least you would imagine he could utilize a hoster who could provide the type of bandwidth a /.-hit might cause.

I love the work, the ideas, the sheer gall of the project, but damn, why is it everytime something interesting is added I have to wait days to see any of it?
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