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1 Amateur Rocket Crashes, Another Explodes

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the eggs-striving-to-be-omelets dept.

Space 292

prostoalex writes "A 23-foot-long space rocket carrying 3 dummies exploded in the Pacific Northwest after reaching about 200 feet. The team was competing for Ansari X Prize, offering $10 million to the team that successfully completes a low-budget private space rocket capable of carrying men into space. Google News offers more perspectives into the event, the team is saying the rocket, whose parachute malfunctioned, would have to be rebuilt." And AmiNTT writes "Everygeek's favorite rocketeers over at Armadillo Aerospace have suffered a fairly serious setback over the weekend - the crash of their 48-inch vehicle link in a test hop at their 100 acre test field. Of course there is video and pictures - 2 3... This setback should keep them from flying for about five weeks, but will give them a chance to make some design changes. I'm sure they will be back better than ever. (Armadillo have shown up on Slashdot many times in the past.)"

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292 comments

October Sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917899)

And this news comes just days after watching October Sky! codeus.sexybsd.org [sexybsd.org]

Re:October Sky (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917975)

Thanks douchenozzle...

Re:October Sky (2, Informative)

fejikso (567395) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918021)

October sky [imdb.com] is a very inspiring movie. I also recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it, especially if they have any interest in science.

It may not have the best script, acting, etc. but it's very enjoyable.

Re:October Sky (0, Offtopic)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918164)

And, here's your trivia for the night. October Sky is not only based on the book Rocket Boys, it's also a palindrome.

Re:October Sky (1)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918186)

October Sky is not only based on the book Rocket Boys, it's also a palindrome.

Whoops, I mean anagram. A palindrome of October Sky would be Yks Rebotco.

(And a palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob.)

poor dummies (5, Funny)

metalac (633801) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917900)

It seems that nobody pays any attention to the dummies, they are the real victims here, but nobody cares.

What kind of world are we living? I say it's end of the world when we stop carying for dummies.

Re:poor dummies (5, Funny)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917962)

Don't worry, there will still be enough around for you all to vote for come November....

Re:poor dummies (1)

metalac (633801) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917982)

ahahaha definitely a good reply :) I was hopping for something like this, and you hit it dead on. Good job :D.

Then as far as I'm concerned couldn't we use the November dummies for the launching experiments ;)

Re:poor dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918046)

Good idea! And after we run out of politicians, let's remember to send the lawyers and accountants for the first Moon and Mars colonies, then send humans in the second wawe after they have been terraformed.

[Obvious mistake: Moon cannot be terraformed. This is a joke.]

Re:poor dummies (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918064)

Don't worry, there will still be enough around for you all to vote for come November....

A Beowulf Cluster of them even.

Re:poor dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918157)

Don't forget that important "dummy vote" demographic.

Re:poor dummies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918350)

And the joke is that everyone thinks it is a joke. This X-prise is going to get people killed. Real people, dummies, but the red-blooded kind. How on earth can you hope to get supersonic, 62 miles high and return safely in something cheaper than your average honda? This is insanity at it's best. The organizers of the X-prise should be prosecuted for endangering the public.. Space flight is best left to intelligent species, yahoos from .com world need not apply.

Re:poor dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917979)

I, for one, welcome our future dummy overlords...
Oh, sod it all, I don't want to troll slashdot, mindlessly posting drivel containing too many commas.

I wanted to be, a lumberjack!

Re:poor dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918051)

Don't worry, Mr. McBride, some of us still care about you.

Re:poor dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918063)

Will somebody please think of the DUMMIES?!!

doom3 (4, Funny)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917903)

Best quote from the weblog about the incident:

"Amazingly, even though the on-board camera was destroyed, the tape did survive with only some scuffed sections. It's a good thing Doom 3 is selling very well..."

Re:doom3 (4, Funny)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917976)

Amusing how the little puffs of steam coming off the ship on the video look like video-game-explosion-effects too, and not what Hollywood would show for a crashing rocket.

Re:doom3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918002)

Yeah. Hollywood would have shown a huge 200 foot fireball when it hit the ground, even though at that point it was basically an empty fiberglass tank with some metal bits on the ends.

If we want to get into space (-1, Offtopic)

foidulus (743482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917904)

we must vote for Gallagher(the comic) in 04! See sig for more info!
Yay karma burn!

Eventually they'll change their name... (5, Funny)

omegacentrix (473330) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917909)

to the Union Aerospace Corporation...

Re:Eventually they'll change their name... (1)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918049)

Whatever happened to that one guy in the Pacific Northwest that was planning on his own rocket, and it seemed had actually built his own? Rocketman or something like that? The one thing I remember the most was that the guy seemed to be on a fast track for a Darwin award.

Re:Eventually they'll change their name... (1)

johnnliu (454880) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918139)


Now it's all clear to me why the UAC were trying to contact supernatural forces.

They couldn't play DOOM 9 with their current graphics cards.

"The Right Stuff", part 2? (5, Interesting)

oostevo (736441) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917911)

Did anybody else look at that video and immediately remember the montage sequence from The Right Stuff with archival footage of NASA's rockets blowing up?

That didn't set them back, and somehow I don't think this will set back these private experimenters either.

Re:"The Right Stuff", part 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918232)

My favorites are the ones that just fall over.. TIIMMBBERRRR!

Re:"The Right Stuff", part 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918248)

It reminded me of Dave Kujan's cup shattering on the floor (the last take, anyhow). Is Keyser in on this? I think not.

Re:"The Right Stuff", part 2? (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918325)

Did anybody else look at that video and immediately remember the montage sequence from The Right Stuff with archival footage of NASA's rockets blowing up?

Wow... am I with you on this one. Remember people... these are ENGINEERS. They are developing something new...

Compare this engineering to software engineering.

1) A software engineer comes up with an idea.

2) A programmer writes a test case of the idea. Often, the programmer is the engineer in step 1.

3) Software is run. Program crashes, bombs, but does something resembling the goals in step 1.

4) Bugs are found, worked out, kinked, etc.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the program works as it should....

The ONLY difference between this and aeronautics is that when it crashes, you have to rebuild the rocket. (You have to rebuild the software, too, but that's assumed, automatic and usually done in 10 seconds)

So, I really don't get why the disconnect. It's engineering! Products are seldom viable in the first design attempt, but a basically workable design is tweaked until it's ready.

No different here.

Re:"The Right Stuff", part 2? (5, Insightful)

Syre (234917) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918376)

I'm concerned about Brian Feeney and his da Vinci Project [davinciproject.com] . Apparently they may be planning to launch with no test flights [yahoo.com] in order to hit the deadline for the X Prize.

This is extremely risky, and perhaps suicidal. Rockets do, as we've seen, notoriously tend to blow up and otherwise malfunction in their initial testing.

NASA got it right because they tested over and over again and had a big budget to do so.

With the deadline fast approaching, it seems that some teams, like Feeney's, will be tempted to cut corners in order to have a chance of winning the X Prize.

Cutting corners and sticking to a timetable is what caused the Challenger disaster. I hope we don't see other lives lost as a result of this X Prize deadline.

Armadillo Aerospace down for the count? (3, Funny)

wviperw (706068) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917921)

Sometimes I think you people actually take JOY out of directly linking to large JPGs and MPGs on /.

Ahh well, Armadillo Aerospace is down, but at least there is still Union Aerospace [ua-corp.com] to look at. Err... wait.

Re:Armadillo Aerospace down for the count? (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917951)

The sound of crashing webservers is always music to my ears... You know, that satisfying squeel as the machine hits a STOP error from a overheated cpu... such a wonderful sound... Assuming its not mine of course.

Re:Armadillo Aerospace down for the count? (4, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918033)

So they'll be spending $35,000 for a new rocket, and $35,000 for the bandwidth charges incurred by the slashdot linkage...

ed2k link (1)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918034)

ed2k://|file|48InchCrash.mpg|4345860|c03ce17b98b49 c7a88621c721c33acb3|

As usual, you will need to manually remove the spaces that Slashcode adds.

It's a pity that there aren't second and third (4, Insightful)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917925)

place categories in the Ansari X-Prize, say a second place that would win 5 million dollars and a third place that would win two. It seems as if there's a lot of cool stuff being developed by the impetus of the prize. I'd hate to see that stop when the prize is awarded.

Armadillo aren't stopping... (3, Informative)

Goonie (8651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917963)

Carmack commented on this on the Armadillo blog a month ago; his opinion is that only Rutan's team are close, given that they are very close to success he's not going to try a Hail Mary attempt, and nobody else is close as far as he can tell (and recent events would tend to underline this view). Furthermore, he and the rest of the Armadillo team intend to continue their rocketry work anyway.

More broadly, I believe there are plans for post X-Prize competitions in the future, where various teams would get together annually to compete for the highest launch, fastest turnaround, and so on.

Ultimately, it wouldn't surprise me, particularly if Scaled wins the X-Prize, if in a few years time we have the "Y-Prize" for orbital shots.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918073)

if in a few years time we have the "Y-Prize" for orbital shots.

I don't know... I'd call that the "XX-Prize" with the followup "XXX-Prize" for first sex (M+F) in orbit.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (2, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918098)

Ultimately, it wouldn't surprise me, particularly if Scaled wins the X-Prize, if in a few years time we have the "Y-Prize" for orbital shots.
I'd like to see a prize for a vehicle that can snatch a dead satellite from orbit and bring it safely back to earth for less than the value of the satellite.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (1)

MrBlue VT (245806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918210)

Uh, the main cost is not the value of the components that make up the satellite, but rather the cost of putting the damn thing up there in the first place.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (2, Interesting)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918300)

I don't believe the proportion of costs of launch vs development are clear cut enough to justify the "Uh" at the beginning of your post. While I don't have figures at hand, launch prices appear to be in the order of US$80m-US$100m. I'm sure it costs a lot more than that to develop and build most satellites. This article [space.com] suggests value in some sort of satellite support system, though it's discussing pushing satellites into higher orbits or repairing/refueling them in space, rather than returning them to Earth.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918353)

It definately did deserve an "Uh" you mouth-breathing heathen.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (1)

MrBlue VT (245806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918361)

I imagine after building it once though, they'd still have the plans so it would be pretty cheap to just get the hardware and build another one. Even if they could pull a satellite out of orbit and bring it back to Earth, I think they'd rather put up an all new machine rather than send the old one back up.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (2, Insightful)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918440)

ding-ding-ding we have a winner!

By the time a satellite *needs* to be pulled out of orbit to be refueled/repaired, it is generally old technology worth less than the launch cost for a retrieval mission. This is why the shuttle's satellite repair function was basically unused, and why no one has bothered to even think of doing something like this.

There are rare exceptions, but not enough of them to justify designing something to do it.

Re:Armadillo aren't stopping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918328)

That's a good example for a goal that _doesn't_ need a prize, because the profit of the returned satellites would be its own prize.

The point of the prizes is to inspire the costly "small steps" to get the technology ready for the absurdly profitible tourism, mining, and "planetary redundancy " for the survival of the human race [spacex.com] goals that are the real rewards.

Re:It's a pity that there aren't second and third (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917969)

Even though the contest will end, the knowledge and information learned will not go away. Everyone who participates will come away knowing more than they did before. And be able to use that knowledge in future projects.

Re:It's a pity that there aren't second and third (1)

VanillaCoke420 (662576) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918167)

Well the other teams can still participate in the X-Prize cup. Also, some of them have probably invested so much they want to make money out of it in one way or another.

Quote from the log: "Good thing Doom 3 is selling" (5, Insightful)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917930)

The setback isn't too serious in terms of money, but you can't easily recover the five weeks required to replace the long-lead items. But, as already surmised, the experience of building the first 48" vehicle will have been invaluable and I'm sure they'll find (or commit to) a bunch of items to make improvements. One thing they already did better compared to earlier vehicles: Mass (or lack of it). The 48" vehicle was apparently slightly under the design weight, at 1000 pounds.

Good luck to John and the rest of the crew at Armadillo.

Make Improvements... (3, Funny)

waynemcdougall (631415) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918340)

...she's breaking up! She's breaking up!....<crash>

The private rocket project barely alive...

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology.

We can make it better than it was before.

Better...

...stronger...
...higher...
For the $10 million dollar X-Prize

Wait a second... (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917937)

They want to put 3 real people in a 38 inch diameter rocket and then launch them into space?! Who in their right mind would agree to such a thing? It sounds about as much fun as riding out a hurricane in a freakin' barrel!

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918012)

Maybe they're going for the 1 pilot, 2 very large weights option, like Armadillo was initially (not sure if they're still planning on doing that or not).

Re:Wait a second... (2, Insightful)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918448)

There is a miniature and a full-size. They perhaps don't plan on flying into space inside the miniature.

I'm having a strange flashback to Zoolander right now...

You'd Think... (4, Informative)

the pickle (261584) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917940)

...that the guys at Armadillo would be used to the /. traffic by now, having been on here so many times before.

Sadly, it seems they have yet to learn from history. Or, perhaps, their bandwidth costs are being spent on new rocket parts.

Well, here's a copy of the news article from Armadillo, anyway.

Armadillo Aerospace News Archive


Good tests, Complete loss of vehicle

August 8, 2004 notes

Good Tests

On Tuesday we did a very successful set of hover tests with the big vehicle. I had two changes that I wanted to test: an optional PWM of the throttle movement to make it change position slower when it was in hunt-for-an-acceleration mode, and testing a 50% gain increase which I might enable during high speed flights if it looks like it is having a hard time controlling the attitude. I had these set up momentary overrides on the joystick, so I could lift the vehicle up, engage the change, let go real fast if it isn't working, then try the other one, all on a single propellant load.

When we tipped the vehicle up, several catalyst rings fell out of the engine nozzle. We looked up the engine with a boroscope and found that the screen at the bottom had pulled past one section of the support plate, allowing some rings to escape. This had also happened on the previous 12" engine after a few runs (you could see a couple red hot catalyst rings fly out in one of the static test videos). It didn't seem to be progressive last time, so we went ahead and left it alone, expecting the test run to squash the rings down into an interference fit again.

Because this was set up to be a 25 second hover (tethered), which would be our longest hover test, we decided to make this a no-direct-view test, with my flying it from behind a concrete wall looking at a monitor instead of directly viewing it. The engine warmed up fine and lifted off and hovered fine. I was about to engage the first test when the vehicle just set itself back down on the ground. It took me a few moments to figure out what happened - I had moved the computer and wireless antenna behind the wall with me, so the telemetry link was very ratty, dropping quite a few packets. Eventually it dropped enough in a row to hit the internal limit and triggered a loss-of-telemetry abort, which is an auto land. Perfect!

I moved the antenna back in view of the vehicle, and we completed both of the control system tests without incident. We used our new propellant disposal burner to catalyze the remaining propellant, which worked pretty well. The foam coming out was probably still 10% peroxide or so, but a little water was fine for washing it away. We might consider adding a spark ignition system to it so it would completely burn everything away, but that would be a more complex system, and would leave us with a red hot propellant burner.

When we set the vehicle back down on the cradle, a few more catalyst rings came out, but the engine still seemed to be working perfectly.

Based on these results, I changed the flight control code to use the PWM valve movement when it is hunting back and forth past a desired acceleration. If it hasn't crossed it in 500 msec, or the desired valve position is fully open or closed, it goes back to full speed.

We also weighed the vehicle, and surprisingly found it lighter than we had estimated, right at 1000 pounds.

Complete Loss of Vehicle

Saturday was a perfect day for flying, so we went out to the 100 acres for a boosted hop. We had high expectations for success, since the vehicle had been operating perfectly on all tests so far.

After we loaded up the propellant and pressurized the vehicle, we ran into a problem. When I opened it up to 20% throttle for the warmup it looked like it cleared up fine, but the telemetry was only reading 100C, as if the hot pack hadn't started heating. We were a long way from the vehicle, so we couldn't really tell what was going on. I gave it a bunch of slugs of propellant until it finally started going up in temperature properly, but we had blown a lot of propellant out on the ground. Too much.

It finally reached operating temperature and we launched. We had only been operating this engine at hover thrust levels, so we had been a little concerned that it might be rough at full throttle. It was. It flew fine through the roughness, but when it started to throttle down after the two second boost to a 0.5 G positive acceleration level for the stabilization phase, the rough pulses kept passing both above and below the desired acceleration, keeping the engine from throttling down at full speed, resulting in it going a lot higher than intended (just under 600 feet high). It did finally get out of the rough stability zone into clear stabilization, but a couple seconds later, everything got quiet. It ran out of propellant.

It had not hit apogee yet, so the unstable vehicle immediately started rotating, hitting about 50 degrees / second. If the vehicle had been past apogee when it ran out, it probably would have just dropped feet first.

We had telemetry all the way to the time of impact, which matched the video perfectly, landing eight meters from the launch point. The vehicle hit the ground basically sideways, a little tail first. The bottom manway flange broke off the tank, and the 450 pound tank with 180 psi pressure still in it got punted about 200 yards away by the gas release. $35,000 of rocket is now a whole lot of primo Armadillo Droppings. There are a few pipe fittings that survived, but that's about it. Amazingly, even though the on-board camera was destroyed, the tape did survive with only some scuffed sections. It's a good thing Doom 3 is selling very well...

From analyzing the telemetry (integrating the chamber pressure during the flight), it looks like it wasted two thirds of the propellant on the warmup. If it had lifted off with a normal warmup, it would have landed ok even with the rough throttling, but we would have been in violation of the 15 second burn time limit by the time it landed. There was twice as much propellant loaded as this flight should have required, which I thought was enough to cover any off-nominal conditions, but we obviously should have scrubbed when the warmup didn't catch after the second or third try. We are going to look into getting a continuous capacitive level sensor next time so we can have a firm no-go line for liftoff. If anyone knows of a peroxide compatible (316 SS / Teflon / viton / eetc) capacitive sensor that runs off of 12v or 5v DC and can handle 300 psi (we may be willing to run past rated pressure if nexessary), let me know. Ideally we would want a 5V or 10V analog out, but we could live with a current sensor, or (with some begrudging) a serial port. We would like to mount it on the bottom of the tank instead of the conventional top location, but we don't think that will be a problem.

The failure did give us some demonstration data that we always sort of wanted to get (but not that bad). The vehicle is absolutely, positively, NOT going to continue flying nose first when it loses active control. This should be blatantly obvious from the CG, but we had a WSMR engineer pushing us towards a NASA consultant to prove it. When it fails in the air, it just drops like a rock, landing very near the launch site. Rupturing a fiberglass tank doesn't produce shrapnel, but it does drop kick the tank pretty good. This looked pretty close to an optimal 45 degree launch angle for the tank, so we have a pretty good idea what our safe distances should be.

We probably would have been able to save the vehicle if we had a rocket drawn parachute on board, but we are trying to have a pyro-free vehicle. A pneumatic drogue cannon might have been able to deploy a chute fast enough, but it would be a lot more debatable.

We cut the engine open with the plasma cutter to do a post-mortem, and found what had been causing the engine issues. The combination of the bottom catalyst retaining plate bowing down because it was only welded on the bottom and some catalyst escaping both out the bottom and some out the top (the top screen was burned through in a couple places) left the bottom catalyst not even completely covering the diameter of the engine. When we had the nozzle and cold pack cut off and the engine on its side, you could see right through the hot pack at the top. This explains the apparently clear exhaust at the start while the thermocouple was still reading only 100C, because the thermocouple was fairly short (we used to use a longer one, but the bowing of the retaining plate forced us to use a shorter one so we could still insert it) so it was in a stream around the edges that bypassed most or all of the hot pack catalyst (driving down the highway probably also settled the catalyst on the opposite side from the sensors), while much of the main flow was still being burned. The loosening catalyst is also almost certainly why this engine "got rough" after we had been using it for a while.

The support plate bowing can be fixed by either making a full depth angle on the sides of the plate so the weld gets full side coverage, or actually weld the plate between two chamber sections, instead of inside a single chamber section. We are making new plates that are made with 1300 quarter inch holes instead of large water jet cut squares that are bridged by screens. This will let us completely avoid the screens altogether, and we are also going to tie the top and bottom plates around the hot pack together by putting quarter inch bolts through some of the quarter inch holes, and welding them together as a unit with the catalyst in between. This should fix the engine behavior.

Everything else operated perfectly, so we still feel good about the general configuration, but we have a number of improvements for robustness and operability that we will be making in the next vehicle we put together. A couple of the necessary items are fairly long lead times, so we are probably grounded for five weeks.


*sigh*...looks like Scaled Composites is still that much further along than anyone else. Honestly, does anyone think any of the other teams have a chance of beating them?

p

Re:You'd Think... (1)

BiggerBoat (690886) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917956)

Sadly, it seems they have yet to learn from history. Or, perhaps, their bandwidth costs are being spent on new rocket parts.

Actually, the media are hosted on id Software's servers. They have lots of bandwidth, but just choose to cap it.

Re:You'd Think... (2, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918055)

sigh*...looks like Scaled Composites is still that much further along than anyone else. Honestly, does anyone think any of the other teams have a chance of beating them?
Not any more... I stole their sparkplug wires... They'll spend weeks trying to figure it out!

Or perhaps (2, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918136)

That the guys at Armadillo would be used to the /. traffic by now, having been on here so many times before.


Sadly, it seems they have yet to learn from history. Or, perhaps, their bandwidth costs are being spent on new rocket parts.
Perhaps they simply realise that their website disappearing for a short while every now and then doesn't really matter in any significant way.

Why a *sigh* for Scaled Composites? (1)

putaro (235078) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918240)

It's a shame that no one else is in a serious position to compete (though Ansari claims they are) but it's pretty cool that Scaled is there. The prize was going to expire this year, so if they hadn't entered the running it wouldn't even be claimed.

Looks like more than their rocket crashed (2, Funny)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917953)

course nothing can escape the dreaded slashdotting... its like the evil bunnies with fangs ^^.

Re:Looks like more than their rocket crashed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918259)

http://www.sesow.com/paintings/april2k3/bunny.jpg

And yet... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917959)

da Vinci is going to fly without real testing of their vehicle.

Sounds like a lot of stupidity and/or hype.

No, they won't (1)

XNormal (8617) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918052)

They just want to appear as a real competitor to give their online casino sponsor their money's worth in attention. I bet they'll find some excuse not to fly.

In other news (0, Redundant)

dotslasher_sri (762515) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917965)

In other news, webservers at Armadillo Aerospace crashed and exploded after their files have been directly linked on front page of /.

Slashdotted (0, Redundant)

vikstar (615372) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917972)

Hmm, looks like they've already redirected funds from web servers to the project.

Crash and learn (4, Funny)

Viadd (173388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918009)

Everything else operated perfectly, so we still feel good about the general configuration
"Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

So you have a Loss Of Vehicle accident, and yet you are not convening an accident investigation board with six months of hearings leading to recommendations that require you to ground all flights for the next decade. You'll never become the next NASA with that attitude.

Consolation (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918042)

Well, if they fail the X-prize in a live run, there's always the Darwin Awards. Either way, you get an award :-)

slashdot fails journalism 101 again (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918044)

I've noticed too many slashdot articles in which the information is misrepresented, misquoted, or quoted out of context. This is yet another case... Slashdot claims that it exploded after reaching 200 feet, which is untrue. It exploded 200 feet horizontally FROM its takeoff point. If you actually had bothered to read the article, the craft approached nearly 1000 ft vertically. It was during landing that the chute failed to deploy and the craft was destroyed.

Of course, 1000 ft isn't that impressive. However, they did produce the craft very cheaply. And, it surely could have travelled farther than 1000 ft, they were merely testing their initial design.

My advice for the team is to attempt to test their next rocket without their dummy payload. It would be best to successfully launch and land a test craft safely before attempting to gauge their capacity for load.

Re:slashdot fails journalism 101 again (0, Troll)

jbltk (801038) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918107)

You're a moron.

This story contains articles about TWO different attempts from TWO different teams.

The video is of the second one. The Armadillo Team.

The other one exploded in mid air.

Why don't YOU try reading?

Mod parent incorrect troll (1)

FlipFlopMan (803695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918149)

I'm sorry, but it's you who is wrong. See my post below. The AC parent is talking about the rocket Rubicon-1, which did not explode in mid air. It's parachute malfunctioned during landing.

This is why the AC had a bit of a rant about Slashdot article vaugarities(sp?).

Again, check the link in my post below. It has the correct info, unlike the Slashdot article.

Re:slashdot fails journalism 101 again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918413)

I'm not a moron and yes I can read.

The story I read and the video I watched is about the 48 inch rocket by Meier (not Armadillo) which was destroyed on impact when its chute failed to deploy. It did not explode in mid-air.

Ignoring your rant... (1)

FlipFlopMan (803695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918117)

They did produce the craft very cheaply

$20,000. Damn cheap. You're lucky to get a car for that much these days...I'd buy me a rocket instead any day! Although the running costs could be a bit high....

Your main point (and correction to the article is correct though - the rocket crashed during landing because the parachute malfunctioned. Lots of people will assume it exploded from the tone of the slashdot article. Which is not true - everything else seems to have been reasonably successful. The images (which I really wanted to see) seem slashdotted pretty badly. Here's a link to a small one in another story [canada.com] .

Re:Ignoring your rant... (1)

MrBlue VT (245806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918257)

Ok, this is what happened in the Washington rocket story since you guys are both clear as mud:
  1. Rocket took off.
  2. Rocket reached 300 meters (approx 1,000 ft) altitude.
  3. Rocket EXPLODED.
  4. Because of explosion, the parachute did not deploy (don't know why the article mentions this point, since you'd sort of figure that was the case since the rocket exploded! [see step 3])
  5. Rocket fell to earth as smoldering rubble 60 meters (approx 200 ft) from the launch pad.
The original plan for this launch was to reach 6,000 meters (approx 20,000 ft), which obviously didn't happen after the rocket blew up on ascent. There's even a nice little picture of it on fire while taking off in that article [canada.com] you mentioned.

Re:Ignoring your rant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918465)

I agree with everything you listed except the explosion in mid-air. Unless of course it was an internal non-visible explosion which caused the malfunction. I can't find that much detail anywhere in the article to support that, however.

The video clearly shows the craft smacking the ground after failing to deploy its chute, at which point the fuselage split clean in two. As far as I can tell there was no combustable explosion present. However, I did notice smoke billowing out after the split (from the upper fuselage as it bounced away spinning), which could justify an internal problem. Though, that may have been caused by the impact.

I don't know enough about their design to speculate further, though. From what I could tell from the exhaust, they were not using combustable fuel. If that is the case, then the smoke may have been faulty electronics or possibly steam. In either case, an explosion would be unlikely as the cause of the failure.

You fail too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918183)

The article says "after shooting less than 1,000 feet in the air." Less than is not the same nearly. But anyhow, in order for the craft to reach 1000ft in altitude it must first pass the 200ft mark. Therefore, Slashdot is correct in saying that it exploded "after reaching about 200 feet."

Wow, for once Slashdot is correct.

No AP reporter is as stupid as you suggest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918343)

Why'd they say it exploded at "less than 1000 feet" if they really meant "about 200 feet"? That would just be really crappy writing. Saying it was less than 1000 feet would imply that it did reach somewhere close to, but still below, 1000 feet. If it was actually much, much less than 1000 feet as you suggest, they wouldn't have mentioned the completely arbitrary 1000 feet number anywhere; it would have had as much relevance to the actual explosion height as saying ten miles or three million light-years.

Besides, you wouldn't describe a rocket as "crashing 200 feet from takoff" if it malfunctioned and blew up at 200 feet. Crashing generally involves hitting something, like the ground. Yes, it did hit the ground later, but it certainly did not crash at 200 feet altitude.

Oh... one more thing... (0, Flamebait)

NeoGeo64 (672698) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918082)

The one that crashed was running Windows 98 and the one that exploded was running OS9.

Slashdotted (0, Offtopic)

Fnyar (752435) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918092)

I guess Armadillo Aerospace wasn't anticipating problems and thus a flood of slashdot traffic.

The dudes from Washington... (1)

Secret Chimp (557933) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918111)

I see them on the local news, and as soon as I saw that chubby V1 knockoff, I knew the thing would fail. Even if the thing worked, who the hell wants to go into space in what looks like an oversized water rocket?

Re:The dudes from Washington... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918267)

I was thinking it looked like a buttplug, but now that you mention it..

Torrent of the video (5, Informative)

madumas (186398) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918126)

Here is a torrent for the 4MB video. I'll keep it up for 24-48 hours.

48InchCrash.mpg.torrent [66.11.160.110]

Please seed.

Re:Torrent of the video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918359)

4 megs for 30 seconds of video? Why not compress it further with divx or some other crossplatform codec? I swear Carmack must be getting kickbacks from not only nVidia and ATI but from ISPs too.

Uhhh.....no shit. (1)

TiMac (621390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918133)

the rocket, whose parachute malfunctioned, would have to be rebuilt

Usually one DOES have to rebuild after it EXPLODES!

Re:Uhhh.....no shit. (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918285)

Usually one DOES have to rebuild after it EXPLODES!

Not always true -- the other alternatives are to give up trying altogether, or design an alternate rocket (which would be built, not rebuilt).

Re:Uhhh.....no shit. (1)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918294)

it didnt explode, the chute didnt come out and it crashed and kinda exploded when it hit the ground, like all rockets do when the chute doesnt open. Some rockets need a little explosion to pop the body apart so the chute will come out, maybe that is why it made a big bang when it hit the ground. But no it was a good launch, other than the bad landing

mirror of video (5, Informative)

reezle (239894) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918135)

Let's see how long my server lasts. {Sheepish-Grin}

VIDEO [sbnsor.com]

(Thanks for the text-mirror earlier. It was nice to read about it, and see that they all kept their sense of humor about the situation.)

favourite rocketeers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918152)

Not my favourite X-Prize team, so speak for yourself. They will be back better than before of course, but not in time to win the xprize.

Captain's announcement: (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918244)

48-inch vehicle

This is your captain speaking, please remain remain in a seated position.

-

Of course! (1)

shfted! (600189) | more than 9 years ago | (#9918254)

Of course the amateur rocket failed -- they're not professional rocket scientists after all ;)

timothy's gay porn career! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918276)

who the fuck cares about blowing up rockets with a pillow biting butt pirate about to have a super cum guzzling future!!

informative niggani6ga (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918297)

have somebody just W3'll be a3le to personal rivalries

Playing the wrong game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918371)

Guess that should have been playing more Lander and less Doom III

Sweet justice.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9918437)

Carmack, that's what you get for flying the rocket in complete darkness, without a helmet-mounted flashlight!

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