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John Carmack's Test Liftoff a Success

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the skyrockets-in-flight dept.

Space 384

brainstyle writes "Space.com is reporting that John Carmack of Armadillo Aerospace (and who apparently has some game design hobby) has had a successful launch of the prototype of its entry in the X-Prize. From the article: 'I had tried several algorithms on the simulator before settling on this one, and it behaved exactly the same in reality, which is always a pleasant surprise.'"

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FPFPFPFPFP (-1, Redundant)

hashts (583541) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461037)

FPFPFPFPFP

Re:FPFPFPFPFP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461045)

well done, you complete fuckit. you signed up just to say that?

wooot wooot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461040)

first post

Re:wooot wooot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461121)

YOU FAIL IT!

But can we use it as a weapon in DOOM3 ? (5, Funny)

gorim (700913) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461041)

If we can't shoot it or drive it, what good is it ?

Re:But can we use it as a weapon in DOOM3 ? (5, Funny)

node 3 (115640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461068)

If we can't shoot it or drive it, what good is it ?

I bet I can guess who you're voting for this November.

Re:But can we use it as a weapon in DOOM3 ? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461172)

But no head of state has ever gone into outer space. Perhaps now would be the perfect time. Volunteers??

Re:But can we use it as a weapon in DOOM3 ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461328)

Sure, send Clinton. And his bitch too.

Re:But can we use it as a weapon in DOOM3 ? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461261)

Hardly, but if somebody said the X-Prize should automatically be given to the non-white colored spaceship, we'd all know who they'd be voting for.

looks good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461044)

i like his hobby better

bzallah guffu (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461046)

I am not lame dammit...
FIRST PSOT!

Re:bzallah guffu (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461152)

YOU ALSO FAIL IT!

post first! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461047)

first post!

Re:post first! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461137)

YOU FAIL IT AS WELL!

Congrats! (0)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461050)

Dibs on shotgun!

Hope for all geeks out there (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461052)

May we one day see a FOSS satellite in orbit?

Seriously, I think that this demonstarates the new power given to the (relativly) little guy by computers. Thanks to simulation we can all tweak ideas without blowing up prototypes.

I wish I had as much free time as some of these people.:E

Re:Hope for all geeks out there (3, Insightful)

Shinglor (714132) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461076)

Thanks to simulation we can all tweak ideas without blowing up prototypes.

I think you'll find Armadillo Aerospace blew up a lot of prototypes.

Re:Hope for all geeks out there (1)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461143)

...blew up a lot of prototypes

This _is_ John Carmack after all. I bet he enjoyed the explosions as much as the successes.

I'd imagine he writes some damn good simulators too.

Re:Hope for all geeks out there (0)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461258)

I'd imagine he writes some damn good simulators too.

With TONS of bugs and frogs, and a nonsensical japanese name

Re:Hope for all geeks out there (5, Funny)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461284)

With TONS of bugs and frogs, and a nonsensical japanese name

I think you're thinking of John Romero - I hear he's working on a rocket powered by nothing but his own over-inflated ego.

Id versus ego, who will win? Mwuhahaha!

Ahem.

Re:Hope for all geeks out there (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461092)

I remember that Carmack released some early rocket simulator programs of his a few years ago. I can't remember where they are and whether the source code was included, though :/

Re:Hope for all geeks out there (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461225)

> I wish I had as much free time as some of these people.:E

He says, on slashdot.

Amazingly, this has already been done (1)

chazR (41002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461282)

Well, a fully amateur satellite effort, anyway. Here. [amsat.org]

Simulator? (4, Funny)

node 3 (115640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461054)

'I had tried several algorithms on the simulator before settling on this one, and it behaved exactly the same in reality, which is always a pleasant surprise.'

I hope he's not referring to the "simulator" about the space marine on Mars/Phobos/Deimos...

(especially not if the simulation behaved exactly the same)

Re:Simulator? (2, Funny)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461112)

(especially not if the simulation behaved exactly the same)
I wouldn't mind if it includes the infinite respawns.

I for one welcome our new BFG toting overlords!!! Of course I plan on being one of them.

Re:Simulator? (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461239)

I wouldn't mind if it includes the infinite respawns.

While being instagibbed wouldn't hurt, I do think all the clawing and the biting and the shooting and the fireballs would hurt a hell of a lot :P

Re:Simulator? (1)

MooCows (718367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461157)

I hope he's not referring to the "simulator" about the space marine on Mars/Phobos/Deimos...

(especially not if the simulation behaved exactly the same)

What? Like iddqd and idkfa actually work?

Re:Simulator? (1)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461188)

What? Like iddqd and idkfa actually work?

Heh.. i'd love to see those two words on a post-it note in the cabin, when they actually launch a human :)

Spaceship lifts off perfectly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461058)

but server crashes and burns with only 6 posts on the article??

Re:Spaceship lifts off perfectly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461245)

err.... no?

Armadillo? (0)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461059)

Doesn't that name just inspire confidence?

Re:Armadillo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461253)

Sure does, it's scaly hide could survive a fall from orbit!

That's good and all... (0)

Sprite Remix (725063) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461060)

... but does it run Doom3?

/karma-whore

Re:That's good and all... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461263)

you mean /anti-karma-whore...

It's always nice (4, Interesting)

zoloto (586738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461061)

It really is nice to see some of your more favorite programmers involved in their hobbies. It makes them more real in a way that "sitting behind a computer screen and doing nothing else to stimulate your mind" can. Not to mention he probably wrote the simulator, lol.

anyways, this is good news for J.C. congrats man

Re:It's always nice (1, Funny)

trawg (308495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461107)

You have favourite programmers?

Re:It's always nice (2, Interesting)

zoloto (586738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461111)

Yeah, some of their names are:

Linus Torvalds
John Carmack
Alan Cox (gotta love his kernel hacks)
and the miriad of other kernel programmers!

Re:It's always nice (4, Interesting)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461124)

Is that any different from having a favorite athlete? What sports are hard? Require lots of training and talent? Rooting for a programmer doesn't affect his output?

Thats right.

Re:It's always nice (0)

trawg (308495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461144)

I just thought it was a funny expression to use about a person!

Re:It's always nice (2, Informative)

zarkzervo (634677) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461203)

"Not to mention he probably wrote the simulator, lol."

A simulator is just some code to stimulate input to your code. Simulator != a big box with a joystick and 3D-glasses and force feedback.

People tend to think of MS Flight Simulator when they hear the word 'simulator'.

Re:It's always nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461271)

erm, he probly wrote something like ms flight sim...

it's a simulation of his rocket in the world ya know...

Hopefully... (5, Funny)

kcorporation (653500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461063)

he'll have a deadline more precise than "when it's done" if he wants to win the X-Prize.

Re:Hopefully... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461086)

I think you're thinking about the Duke Nukem fornever team

He's unlikely to win the X-Prize... (4, Informative)

Goonie (8651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461133)

Though Armadillo have made some progress lately, Carmack stated in his last diary entry that Scaled Composites are odds-on favourites to win the X-Prize:
I think Space Ship One has good odds of success in the single-person-to-100km flight... At this point, I hope Burt has everything work out and he is able to make the X-Prize flights soon, because our prospects are pretty dim for getting everything working perfectly in the big vehicle in five months and having permission to fly it. I certainly don't want the insurance company to keep the prize money. If Space Ship One crashes, we will probably throw ourselves at an attempt, but it will be a long shot. No, I don't think any of the other teams are close.

I'm sure the Armadillo team would have loved to have won the X-Prize, but they don't seem to be too discouraged. They've built a rocket that flies and lands very neatly, and that uses a novel propellant mixture. I gather they're still going to try to build an X-Prize class vehicle over the next year or so. They've learned a lot about building rockets. And, judging by the celebration when they landed that test flight, they're still having fun. Sounds like a hell of a hobby to me, and I wish I had the cash to do something like it :)

Re:Hopefully... (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461281)

no, that's the best deadline, esp when it involves human life...

Which century? (0, Offtopic)

andrej73 (779231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461066)

>successful launch

like the doom3? ;-)

Re:Which century? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461287)

wtf?

If he is building rockets.... (2, Funny)

Cyb3rBull3ts (779853) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461081)

he isn't working on Doom 3!

Re:If he is building rockets.... (2, Funny)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461175)

Yeah... Fuck space flight, Doom 3 is a far more important achievement to humanity.

Re:If he is building rockets.... (0, Offtopic)

hangingonwords (581642) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461285)

damn straight!

Re:If he is building rockets.... (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461300)

erm, the engine, which is the part he does, is most likly done, it's all the game content, the levels, etc that takes more time then the engine does, that's the stuff that's getting worked on.

Awesome (4, Interesting)

Cackmobile (182667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461082)

but they look a little behind the ball. SpaceShipOne is already carrying people into space(the official limit) and they are launching a small rocket. Even if they don't win I hope they keep going.

I'm confused. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461091)

'I had tried several algorithms on the simulator before settling on this one, and it behaved exactly the same in reality, which is always a pleasant surprise.'

I know not this reality which you speak of.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

jtwJGuevara (749094) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461221)

Sure you do. It's the physical world in which you can strafe jump to gain speed and get to work faster.

I wonder... (4, Insightful)

Pivot (4465) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461093)

Is this the reason we still haven't seem Doom 3 yet?

Re:I wonder... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461305)

I think I speak for everyone by saying fuck you :P

also, the engine, which is the part he does, is most likly done, it's all the game content, the levels, etc that takes more time then the engine does, that's the stuff that's getting worked on.

no X-Prize (1)

khuber (5664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461105)

So in 6 months they are going to go from a prototype that goes 100 feet to carrying three people into space? Obviously they are not contenders for the X-Prize.

Re:no X-Prize (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461139)

They're not allowed to go higher by their current FAA licence.

Re:no X-Prize (4, Insightful)

GlenRaphael (8539) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461164)

So in 6 months they are going to go from a prototype that goes 100 feet to carrying three people into space? Obviously they are not contenders for the X-Prize.
They are contenders, but a bit of a long shot. Space Ship One is the leading contender to win the prize. If SSO crashes, Armadillo is the next best hope.

And, they aren't that far away. They've got the big rocket that carries three people built; they are just very - and appropriately - cautious. They are extensively testing all the algorithms and principles on the smaller rocket first. The main thing they think will take over 5 months is getting permission to make the shot.

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461113)

Wow, they got some model rocket to fly 131 feet.

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461314)

it is a wow

The X prize is a waste of time (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461120)

100 km is nothing! It just makes the thing a high altitude plane. You can't maintain a stable orbit a that altitude, and the planes that get up there are nowhere near escpae velocity.

A rocket that can get up there will need more than just a few extra miles. It needs to travel at about 10 times the speed, have serious prtection for reentry, and have heavy shielding to protect it once it gets out of the Van Halen belt.

Re:The X prize is a waste of time (5, Funny)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461151)

i almost thought you knew what you were talking about, until you got to the Van Halen belt.

Re:The X prize is a waste of time (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461169)

The Van Halen belt? Someone spent too much time listening to hair metal in the 80's. You mean the Van Allen Belts [nasa.gov]

Re:The X prize is a waste of time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461186)

I know what I mean. Perhaps you should read an astronomy book or something.

Re:The X prize is a waste of time (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461321)

What, is there a belt of old van halen tapes in orbit or something?

Easy. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461230)

Put SpaceShip One up there, with the Armadillo rocket as payload. 3 stages to orbit.

Re:The X prize is a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461247)

and have heavy shielding to protect it once it gets out of the Van Halen belt.

Wells that a Freudian slip if I ever saw one!

Re:The X prize is a waste of time (0)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461317)

and have heavy shielding to protect it once it gets out of the Van Halen belt.

Or have astronauts who actually like 80s rock...

Maybe something (only) John can answer (4, Interesting)

lingqi (577227) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461125)

I wonder how have the experiences of programming things like the DOOM / QUAKE engine helped in this project? I mean, I am very sure that it is a great asset to be an all-around great programmer for the armadillo project, but I cannot relate how being able to squeeze frames and triangles out of a graphics card helps when dealing with rocket related... stuff; Maybe writing the physics engine and the collision detection code and being able to debug well helped? was there any direct relationships between the day job and the hobby? How did they help eachother?

dammit /. should do another interview with J.C...

Re:Maybe something (only) John can answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461154)

I mean, I am very sure that it is a great asset to be an all-around great programmer for the armadillo project, but...

Oh, come on. Any Armadillo-related programming can easily be done even by mediocre programmers. I mean, it's not rocket science, is it?

Re:Maybe something (only) John can answer (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461158)

Most rockets and advanced materials get 3d models built first these days. Knowing how to do 3D art helps a LOT. Well, CAD programs do a lot for you, but it's still good to have a solid grounding. Also, he has a pretty good simulator, if he wrote it, that would be another thing. And rockets are fun.

Re:Maybe something (only) John can answer (1)

mrright (301778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461194)

Well, writing 3D games requires a lot of knowledge about 3D geometry (crossproducts, matrices, quaternions and so on), and so does writing rocket control software. So that certainly helped.

But the most important thing is obviously the money from doom and quake.

Re:Maybe something (only) John can answer (3, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461201)

Theres probably no direct realtionship between the two. He's obviously a very bright guy with a proven history of being able to solve problems, often using imaginative solutions.

For myself I think many real world programming tasks are broadly quite similar, gather requirements, design, code, test. I'm sure many of us have coded for disparate industries in our time writing complex apps for telecoms, financials etc without fully understanding the entirety of the low down nitty gritty. The key is being able to understand enough to translate what the domain experts tell you into functional code. Obviously experience helps this process as ofen you have a fair idea what will work and what wont. Then its pretty much an incremental process as with many other disciplines. You determine the problems, break them down and either solve them or work around them. For the most part basic intelligence and problem solving skills are more probably important than 'pure' coding skills.

Re:Maybe something (only) John can answer (1)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461208)

J.C. is a brilliant man so that helps. He's good with physics, calculus and just about anything he tries. There are some more details on Carmack in one of Michael Abrash's books IIRC.

Go Johnny! (2, Funny)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461138)

Cant wait to see that BFG M-II, scaled up to blast some astroids.

"/Dread"

Is This Really Serious? (0)

KidSock (150684) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461148)

Can someone honestly tell someone is going to fly 20 miles into space using this wirey little hover-craft? I think a plane/rocket is a little more practical do you? I seriously doubt the design is suitable for reaching orbit.

Re:Is This Really Serious? (1)

Pelops (454213) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461195)

Well think about the beginning of the human flight. Did people think that some men could have succeeded at all ?
I think you are reasoning on what you know and you can see further than what is already existing. Maybe, this will be the future way of flying. I can't tell, but never discard ideas that might look funny at first.
Again, i am no rocket scientist (pun intended) and i can't tell whether this will work or not.

Pelops

It bothers me (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461166)

I get a feeling that somebody will mod this as flamebait, but I really rather hear your reply (or ancedotes to the contrary): look at this video [space.com] detailing the rocket flight and in the end the flock of people jumping out from the van cheering: it is scary that I see no hot chick (tm) within the bunch - Carmack should be considered the acme of geeks, and even in his stratospheric residence where most of us can only dream of, it would seem that "surrounded by adoring female fans" is not part of the description.

Beware, geeks, maybe there is no light at the end of the tunnel...

Re:It bothers me (4, Funny)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461244)

Dude, when was the last time you saw hot chicks at the Cape?

Baikonur?

If there were more hot chicks at these places, I guarantee you we'd have moved all heavy industry and manufacturing into the Lagrange points by now ... but it appears hot chicks only like dudes with fast racey cars, and money. You ever heard of a "millionaire rocket scientist"? And no, Burt don't count, he's a full-on dork.

Real Rocket Jump (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461177)

John Carmack just showed us inferior quakers what a REAL rocket jump is like ...

Safety... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461181)

I love the video. The rocket looks great, but the funniest bit is when we see that everybody was hiding behind a car for safety :)

btw, which one of them is John?

fuel? (1)

Maimun (631984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461202)

The home page of Armadillo Aerospace says that the rocket is hydrogen peroxide fueled. But hydrogen peroxide (H_2 O_2) is just the oxidizer, right? What is the fuel, I wonder? The rocket produces almost no visible flames [space.com] .

Re:fuel? (1)

zors (665805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461214)

I was under the impression that the hydrogen peroxide was the fuel itself, but i may be wrong.

Re:fuel? (2, Informative)

Maimun (631984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461243)

You are right, I should have googled a bit more [howstuffworks.com] .
Used in this way, hydrogen peroxide is a monopropellant.

Re:fuel? (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461227)


I think the 'fuel' is the silver plates that the hydrogen peroxide passes over and reacts with, producing thrust.

Re:fuel? (1)

Maimun (631984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461249)

The silver is just catalyst, not fuel, see the link at howstuffworks.

H_2O_2 is monopropellant... interesting. It's never late to learn something new.

Re:fuel? (4, Informative)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461267)

Hydrogen peroxide is quite unstable and decomposes under the right conditions (silver catalyst). It's a fuel all by itself [aol.com] , although you can improve its performance by injecting other fuels, when it acts partly as a fuel and partly as an oxidiser.

I have a Question about non-equator launches (1)

Wacky_Wookie (683151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461211)

If a spaceship is launched from an aircraft at altitude, does that remove the need to launch from the equator?

Also is an equatorial launch even needed if it's going to be sub-orbital anyway?

Is there any advantages from a high Polar launch have any advantages that an equatorial launch might lack?

Re:I have a Question about non-equator launches (4, Informative)

henley (29988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461291)

There is no need to launch anything from the equator.

The closer to the equator you launch from, and the closer to due-east your launches are pointed, the more benefit you gain from the Earth's rotation in making orbital velocity.

This applies to Aircraft launches too, since the boost is then: aircraft velocity + earth rotation.

The further your launch is from 0 degrees inclination, the less benefit you gain from earth's rotation, and the less the benefit from launching at the equator. This can actually be made up somewhat by launching from north/south of the equator due east (e.g. Kenedy launches are most efficient to 28 degree inclination launches, the same as the latitude of the launch site.

Launches into polar orbit - 90 degree inclination - by definition get no benefit from Earth's rotation, so it doesn't matter where you launch from.

Launches that are sub-orbital get no benefit from the earth's rotation other than - possibly - affecting the range achieved. For the specific case of the X-Prize, where most teams seem to want to land more-or-less where they launched from, there's no benefit from earth's rotation it's - at most - just another trajectory-affecting factor to take into consideration.

I don't really get it. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461215)

How is this supposed to result in a manned space-flight with a 2-week turnaround? Is Armadillo primarily a software product, with the hardware being done 'at the last stage'?

Honestly, I really just don't get it. It seems great that they've got a vertical takeoff and landing algorithm, but what about all the other hard science thats going to be required to keep a human alive during the flight?

Maybe someone familiar with their program can explain it to me, because I really want to believe that Carmack is going to take us to space, having been responsible for THE technology that has wasted so much of humanity's time so far ...

John Carmack are you reading? (0)

vespazzari (141683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461229)

As any self respecting geek has a slashdot account i have to figure John Carmack of all people does... So how bout it, what do you have to say for yourself?

Re:John Carmack are you reading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461325)

A wild stab - perhaps this [slashdot.org] account has something to do with him?

Re:John Carmack are you reading? (1)

dennison_uy (313760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461327)

why yes, of course he does! [slashdot.org]

xcor closer than armadillo (-1, Troll)

bani (467531) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461265)

xcor has an actual working craft [xcor.com] which has flown a number manned test flights already [xcor.com] . It is being piloted by Dick Rutan [dickrutan.com] . They have a working 1800lb thrust engine [xcor.com] which exceeds anything armadillo has. They also already have a launch license [xcor.com] .

It's a bit silly for carmack to say he doesnt think anyone else is closer than him.

Re:xcor closer than armadillo (2, Informative)

henley (29988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461320)

EzRocket is a great, great testbed for a restartable, reliable, affordable, commercially available rocket engine.

And the flight test series they conducted really did push the state-of-the-art in rocket propulsion, in all of the arenas above

However , the EZRocket testbed - a converted Rutan LongEze homebuild aircraft - is in *no way* a suitable platform for development as a honest-to-goodness Space Rocket. It's not even got a pressurised cockpit, for instance.

XCor do have sub-orbital transport plans - the Xerus [xcor.com] vehicle - but this is at the concept stage: it's not a complete design let alone having any bent metal!

we're DOOMed! (0)

hangingonwords (581642) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461275)

if you ask me it's all a plot to bring back undead space marines from phobos.

The full scale vehicle is also flying, sort of (5, Informative)

John Carmack (101025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461296)

For those of you that are underwhelmed by the 310 pound vehicle, do note that the big vehicle (1500 lbs) that can actually carry people is also flying. Look back in the Armadillo updates around April 19 for testing video. We have since reworked the propulsion system to follow what has worked so well on the subscale vehicle, and should be testing it this weekend. If it works well, we will be repeating the boosted hop with the big vehicle next week.

The flight time is currently limited by federal law to 15 seconds of rocket burn time. We have a waiver coming to extend that to 120 seconds, but beyond that we will need a full launch license.

The significance of all this is that the vehicles are intended to fly up, come back down and land right where they took off from, all without ablating, expending, or seperating anything. It should be possible to have turn around times under one hour even for quite large vehicles.

BTW, Doom beta testing is going very well.

John Carmack

Re:The full scale vehicle is also flying, sort of (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9461315)

zerg rush kekekekekekekekek ^_^

Re:The full scale vehicle is also flying, sort of (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461326)

Thanks for taking the time to let us know this, John. I have to say that very little promotion of this fact by Armadillo has resulted in me being more than a little confused as to what the big fuss about your project is so far ... but I guess, after you've done a 'big-vehicle' launch, the methodology of testing at scale will become a lot more clear to those paying only loose attention to these things.

"Scaled Composites" have the advantage in this PR regard, its pretty easy to figure out what they're up to on the basis of scaling composite construction ... maybe Armadillo should have some sort of PR effort to demonstrate your methods and development ideology, which, if proven by a successful flight, will undoubtedly usher in a really interesting new approach to space flight by industry. Perhaps the physical technology won't be as attractive as your development methods ... and face it, space exploration seems to be nothing but 'refining development method' right now...

Great stuff, anyway. Truly pioneering. Hope lives!
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