Geek and Wizard of low cost rocketry

Even though SpaceX gets a great deal of attention with their Falcon 1 launches, one of my favorite rocketry businesses is John Carmack’s Armadillo Aerospace. There is a great article currently at Forbes on John and Armadillo. John has come pretty close to winning the Lunar lander challenge twice (2006,2007). His approach has been different from other contenders in the commercial space race. One big difference is that he has spent only 3.5 million in his quest compared to the 100 million Elon Musk(SpaceX) or Jeff Bezos(Blue Origin) have spent. I really enjoy watching the controlled ascent and descent of his lander vehicles. I also see that Armadillo provides The Rocket Racing League with engines. According to RRL:

“Armadillo performed the very first flight under the new FAA/AST experimental permit regulatory regime, and we have made over a half dozen more permitted flights since then, all fully insured and observed by on-site AST personnel.”

Watch this great video showing some of Armadillo’s flights.

At the end of that video there are some interesting artist renderings that make me say “What the heck?” Is it a clear passenger sphere in which the rider is totally unattached and free to float about? What is this? Looks dangerous.

armadillo concept 1

armadillo concept 1

armadillo concept 2

armadillo concept 2

This entry was posted in Space news and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Geek and Wizard of low cost rocketry

  1. Jesse says:

    “…One big difference is that he has spent only 3.5 million in his quest compared to the 100 million Elon Musk(SpaceX) or Jeff Bezos(Blue Origin) have spent.”

    The only thing I would object to is- Armadillo Aerospace hasn’t tried to build an orbital class rocket engine yet. They aren’t even designing the same things. From what I can tell, the only way Armadillo is considered a commercial space venture is that he has entered the lander competition. Providing rocket engines to the RRL is pretty cool, but the differences and purposes of both companies right now are apples to oranges.

    Armadillo is years and millions of development dollars away from putting anything in earth orbit, where SpaceX is capable today. If they could just get past their stage separation issue. 🙂

  2. rocketry says:

    I agree Jesse.
    However I’m sure there is a great opportunity here for the lander capabilities and controlled thrust put forth by the Armadillo team. After all the commercial space business isn’t just about reaching orbit. I expect this will be the continued direction of Armadillo.
    From the looks of the staging video of SpaceX it seems to just be a delay issue. Something we rocketeers are very familiar with… 🙂

  3. R2K says:

    This is a fun looking idea… but is space exploration really going to be about tourism? I was hoping it would be about commercial, for profit launches to orbit and deep space. People didnt explore the new world because it was fun or because the wealthy would pay for the experience: it was about new resources and wealth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s