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Official Armadillo Q&A thread

Posted by: John Carmack - Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:01 am
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Official Armadillo Q&A thread 
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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:27 pm
Thanks for the link to Neil's presentation, Alex.

I wonder if you can buy a GPS-guided parachute system off the shelf, or if they rolled their own. It sure sounds like it would make recovery easier. I imagined the vehicle drifting miles out into the desert.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:07 am
azinyk wrote:
Thanks for the update, Ben and Matt!

Ben, you've been posting a lot of engine tests on twitter, but how are these engines different than the ones on the mod or rocket racer? I don't see any obvious changes like regen cooling. Are they more efficient, safer, easier to manufacture? Don't be afraid to toot your own horn!

The mod/rocket racer stuff has been fairly unchanged for some time, it's kind of waiting on a whole new generation. I'm hoping they'll let me build a regen engine; we need something with better performance to get the most out of the tube rocket.

The ones we have been testing have been Nasa stuff, for the most part. Phil has built two different types of LOX/methane engine, and I built a completely weird version as well. Phil also turned one of his into an alcohol engine. These are in the 3-4 thousand pound-thrust class, compared to 1500-2000 of the tube/mod/rocket racer. Rob from Nasa has also been testing and retesting his design, his was the one that was glowing bright red if you saw that photo.

My engine was the first Armadillo one that can be taken apart and have its injectors swapped out, at least since peroxide days. That worked out fairly well, though I'm still tweaking the retainer design. Phil's second engine used a fairly novel injector design I can't talk much about yet, but it was probably the first time it had been tried in the US.

Over the summer the Rocket Racing guys fired the engine on one of the planes 1000 times. Good reliability data there. Annoying as hell for everyone around. Literally tons of propellant, back of the envelope says somewhere over 50 tons.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:10 am
Alex A wrote:
Phis wrote:
I just noticed some more pictures of the new hardware on weldman's Flickr stream, posted on 1/22, that I hadn't seen before. Tube rocket and what is presumably NASA's CRuSR platform, at various stages of production (but mainly focusing on the welding, predictably :).

For those who are interested:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29153024@N07/


Thanks.
The 'NASA' set look like a new Methane/LOX quad (all 4 tanks have insulation whereas ethane/LOX Pixel only had it on LOX tanks).

It's the Nasa Project Morpheus vehicle, previously Project M. It's not CRuSR, that's a different program.

It is indeed lox/methane, the JSC guys really like methane. It's kind of annoying for a first/only stage; AA is sticking with alcohol.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:13 pm
Ben wrote:
AA is sticking with alcohol.

That may be problematic :-). Although it seems that these guys have got you covered...

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Last edited by Lourens on Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:08 pm
How will STIG land without damaging the engine?


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:35 pm
The engine is quite sturdy.

Also, it may not land without damaging something. It remains to be seen.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:08 am
Ben wrote:
The engine is quite sturdy.

Also, it may not land without damaging something. It remains to be seen.



How can it land without damaging the engine? I don't see any legs. Are you planning on parachuting it engine down and just letting it impact? How about a pneumatic pogo leg going straight down to absorb most of the impact just prior to touchdown?


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:49 am
oisiaa wrote:
Ben wrote:
The engine is quite sturdy.

Also, it may not land without damaging something. It remains to be seen.



How can it land without damaging the engine? I don't see any legs. Are you planning on parachuting it engine down and just letting it impact? How about a pneumatic pogo leg going straight down to absorb most of the impact just prior to touchdown?


I like that idea - cheap and effective! Although as long as the parachute is big enough, the impact velocity might not be particularly high, so may not be necessary.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:27 pm
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29153024@N07/4547103872/in/photostream/

I am willing to bet that if they don't set down hard at few degrees from vertical on rock, they will be fine. The tube itself has to be fairly sturdy to withstand the blow down pressure. The weak points are the plumbing and any cameras they strap on. Both being vulnerable to pointy rocks.

I am not at all sure how many hazards Spaceport America has. But There is plenty of time to figure out how to get the next rocket to survive if this one does not. If it does... well then they are just that much further down the road without adding further complexity.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:12 pm
oisiaa wrote:
How can it land without damaging the engine? I don't see any legs. Are you planning on parachuting it engine down and just letting it impact? How about a pneumatic pogo leg going straight down to absorb most of the impact just prior to touchdown?

The engine has to be able to support more than the full weight of the vehicle for it to be able to take off. It has to hold a multiple of the empty weight for high-g MECO.

The engine will probably be fine. One of the actuators may get damaged. It might put a ding in a fin. It may take out the roll vane if it falls on that side. Since it's coming down under parachute, it's hard to say what it's going to land on.

We'll fly it, we'll see. We've dropped a half scale Stig from a few thousand feet five times now, so we have an idea of how it goes.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:38 pm
I'll take your word for it. I'm sure that your engineering data is much better than my intuitive data. Keep up the great work! I'm super excited about everything you guys do!


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:07 am
I don't want to overstate it, there's certainly a high probability that something will be damaged. But if we launch the thing to near space and it comes back with just a few dings? Success.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:08 pm
Ben,

In your video popping the nose cone, the pressure reading is about 15psig when it pops. I am wondering about the repeatability of your seals. Is there any chance that the 14psia of the new Mexico Desert will pop the nose prematurely once you reach space? I suppose slow leaks will help.

Thanks,

Daniel


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:36 pm
That is a concern we've thought of. That section will leak down at a measured rate, and the nose should be held on well enough to not pop off even if it does hold pressure all the way.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:17 am
Ben wrote:
That is a concern we've thought of. That section will leak down at a measured rate, and the nose should be held on well enough to not pop off even if it does hold pressure all the way.


Thanks, The 1 psi just seemed a close thing. but distributed the force difference is pretty substantial. Next naive question... How much pressure can you apply to the recovery section? Just for the case that the aluminum contracts significantly due to cooling. I am completely un-knowledgeable about the heat flux experienced by a vehicle in suborbital flight.

I suppose that the parachute does not deploy until the rocket is in the lower atmosphere? Is all of the minimal reentry heating dissipated by then?

These are probably all better post flight questions.....

Thanks,

Daniel


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