Friday, March 28, 2008
Space Access 2008 - John Carmack on Armadillo Aerospace
John Carmack reported on the last year of progress for Armadillo. In the last year Armadillo has done seven permitted flights. John Carmack showed videos of their flights. They have made progress.
The videos were pretty cool!
They have bolted two modules together. They plan to eventually put more modules together.
For testing they strapped one of their rockets to a 50,000 pound crane and use the rocket to push the crane down a drag strip. There has been some problems with started and stopping, so they ran dozens of stops and starts to make sure the system issues have been fixed.
It was frustrating last year to come out of the X Prize contest last year. They thought they had tested everything enough. They had seen some problems and thought they had fixed all the problems. They had done over thirty flights. They went to the X Prize with three vehicles and left with three wrecked engines. They still don't understand all the problems.
They have some contracts to bring in revenue, one is NASA, another is a business which has asked them to not talk about the work Armadillo is doing.
John believes they are just a couple million dollars away from having a workable system for taking people 100,000 feet up. He sees the space tourism market as having a great potential. John has recently put in a little more money to keep the business going.
They have learned a lot in building several vehicles in the last year.
Q: How much money has been spent?
A: Between three and four million over the last eight years.
Q: Plans for going to 100,000 feet?
A: Expect to lift relatively slowly, so the bulky modular approach should be OK.
Q: The half a million a year burn rate, does that include labor?
A: One person is being paid full time, others are getting a token payment.
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