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Space Access 08

Posted by: TheFlyingkiwi - Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:17 am
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Space Access 08 
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Space Walker
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Post Space Access 08   Posted on: Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:17 am
Just putting it out there to see if any other forum members will be attending this conference over the weekend of March 27th in Pheonix.

Good line up of speakers, I'm especially keen to hear Paul Breed and John Carmack talk, + hear the details of Pauls new 90sec LLC vehicle.

See you there!!!!


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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:00 pm
Hobbyspace have highlighted some of the main topics of conversation.

John Carmack: Armadillo Aerospace- Shows video review the past year. Could fill entire presentation time with videos of flights in the air.
- At 2006 LLC had 2 problems: landing legs breaking and landing accuracy.
- In 2007 those were solved. Instead initially ran into a problem with fuel filtering (first time ever had that problem). First leg of next attempt went fine. Bad start on return leg but seemed OK so hurried over to the landing pad and hovered. The vehicle started to swing and had to come down before the time limit to win.
- Been working to solve the ignition problem.
- Shows video of rocket pushing the truck as on the last update.
- LOX/Methane engine tests.
- 21 Starts/stops video.
- Looking forward:
- 6 modules combiined. Engines on the side.
- Landing gear is conservatively designed and as heavy as a tank.
- Rubber pads on bottom of tanks will work.
- Mixed results with differential throttling with the peroxide monopropellant engines.
- Should work fine with bi-propellant engines.
- The LLC was very disappointing. Came in with many successful tests. Came in with 3 vehicles capable of winning the first level. Assumed only bad luck would prevent winning at least the first level and unfortunately bad luck happened. Never had experienced so many problems in previous test flights. (Came in with 30 flights under their belt.)
- Still tracking down the ignition problems.
- Internal rehearsals of the LLC flights were fairly close to the actual events but small differences in faster prep under pressure might have caused problems.
- Final engine hard start might have been due to an assembly flaw.
- Early attempts after only a few runs will often fail. Need long testing phase to build up statistics and reliability.
- Have four modules and will start going up in altitude. Fully expect to lose several vehicles.
- Start/stop now very reliable.
- $0.5M in contract work. More prospects in discussions.
- Now have more or less stock prices to offer. Not interested in selling components. Will sell functional systems.
- LLC systems have 3000 lbs of thrust. Could be pushed up to 5000 lbs. Sell systems in the few hundred thousand dollar range.
- Could buy a system to test a Google Lunar Prize Challenge vehicle on the ground. Not for actual lunar landing. Very pessimistic that anyone will win the Lunar prize.
- Consider a suborbital space tourism vehicle in reach for $2M.
- Don't blame anyone for building skeptical.
- Have gained tremendous knowledge and capabilities. Confident that they know what they are doing and have unique experience.
- Hoped to use the LLC winnings but just put some of his own money into AA but hope it is just a float before the commercial money comes in.
- The way the LLC was run has been detrimental to them. Once a year in front of a crowd is very difficult environment for a development program. Once a year means decisions on whether to pursue a new improvement or not risk trying something that could prevent winning the prize. Has delayed boosted hops to higher altitudes. Have avoided because wanted insure their were vehicles available to fly in the LLC.
- Could do the LLC this weekend in Oklahoma if it was set up for that.
- Burned 2 tons of propellants last weekend. Costs add up.
- Have learned a huge amount from building vehicles of different configurations.
- Can launch the high altitude vehicle from the trailer.
- Can use load cell pads on the trailer to insure the fuel loading is balanced.
- Each flight leads to improvements in hardware, procedures, software, etc. After dozens and dozens of flights, getting quite good.
- AFRL and NASA work has been nice as far as getting general credibility.
- Working with govt has been "weird". Flying hardware didn't seem to matter. Lots of paper reports. Didn't get the $700k for the Phase II, but sort of glad they did get it.
- Year 8 of Armadillo. Good handle on lots of issues now, including many they didn't know existed when they started.
- Don't want to give a specific schedule but fairly confident of manned flights this year.
- Ready to fly things high and fast when Spaceport America is available.
- Clear steps to increasing mass ratios and getting really high performance.
- Cumulative investment in AA is between 3 and 4 million.
- Developed a simple low cost sensor to shut off LOX after fuel depletion.
- Will prove the differential throttling before building the 6 pack module.
- Overcoming resistance to 64 module concepts will only happen with real hardware. that's flying

Dave Masten: Masten Space- Long term plan: start from something small and simple. Fly multiple times per day.
- Gradually increase altitude till reaching orbit.
- First year has been building the foundation - igniter, test stand, etc.
- XA-0.1 : first prototype. Learned from it lessons about operability
- Lots of test flights. Last fall a tethered flight badly damaged the vehicle. (Safety systems worked well in shutting down the vehicle.)
- Dismantled XA-0-1 and continued with development of XA-02, a larger vehicle with various improvements.
- Problems with vendors not delivering crucial components, e.g. fuel tanks.
- Have found new vendors and waiting for delivery of tanks and so forth.
- Meanwhile, building XA-0.1B and will use it for various tests.
- Discusses igniter and shows the test video.

A lot more info at

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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:58 am
More links from Transterrestrial Musings

Armadillo round-up ... llo_1.html

Rocketplane Global round-up ... e_glo.html

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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:51 pm
Yeah, it was good to meet people. See you next year.

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