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Armadillo Aerospace Big thrust gains

Posted by: Voyager4D - Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:45 am
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Armadillo Aerospace Big thrust gains 
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Post Vehicle hot firing, January 25, 2004 notes   Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:30 pm
Vehicle hot firing, January 25, 2004 notes
After a great deal of work this week, we got the entire vehicle together and ran propellant through it.
...
In theory, this vehicle can now make launch-license-limit flight tests, but we still have bugs to work out.
...
We will be repeating this next week when we can go through the entire process several time. Once we have everything working perfectly, we will head out for the captive hover test.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 2:17 pm
hey, can someone explain what this means? is this a big step to an x-prize class vehicle then?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 3:14 pm
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hey, can someone explain what this means? is this a big step to an x-prize class vehicle then?


Yes, of course it's a big step, they have there engines up and running, and they have a test vehicle...
But there is still a long way to a X-prize flight...


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:05 pm
cheers, just finding it a little hars to understand what i look at when i see these pictures, more of a Java engineer than a real one myself. so are the engines that have been tested the real ones that will be used in their ship? or are these prototypes? is there and indication of what the final vehicle will look like? or when it will be built?cheers

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:05 pm
From what I understand,
This finished vehicle has an 850-gallon tank, which is sufficient for very high-altitude flights, but probably not sufficient for a 3-man X Prize flight. Carmack said that they plan to fly the vehicle until "we crash it," and then will build the larger vehicle, with a 1600-gallon tank. Other than the increased fuel capacity, the larger vehicle should not be different from the current one: the engines, landing system, and computers will have already been proven.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:06 pm
If I look at the current progress, it seems to me that there is now a very large chance they will fly this year into sub space :)
I hope the license won't stop them from doing so.

So when do you fellas think they will make an attempt ? I guess arround november 2004 or so...

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:51 pm
i hope they get a suborbital flight, so are we saying that they will go sub-orbital but not with the 3 men needed to win the x-prize? hmm. Gott hand it to them, as said before their updates are always a good read and ive been a carmack fan since doom, through to quake, a legend! im kinda not seeing too much materialising from these teams though, even starchaser hasnt started building the actual rocket, though the there seems to be a lot of teams at the engine testing stage, would be nice to start seeing the final products coming together even just to watch on a webcam!. Im guessing they wont get suborbital this year, but i realy want them too. still estimating 3 teams to do it this year, though i havnt checked out SS1s progress in the last month, any news?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:04 pm
robiwan wrote:
so are we saying that they will go sub-orbital but not with the 3 men needed to win the x-prize?


Humm, I think they will go sub-orbit with 3 people, but not with the current vehicle... I guess they will not go sub-orbit with this one, this is just for testing before they build the xprize vehicle.

robiwan wrote:
though i havnt checked out SS1s progress in the last month, any news?

No news, last flight 17 december, they may test a new flight very soon.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 10:12 pm
Considering how Armadillo leap-frogs their development, they could move fairly rapidly. If the unstabalized fre-flight is a success, I would guess they'd start final construction of the X-pize vehicle, while they continue to wring-out details with the prototype and also await the Launch License. Carmack has said he desn't expect the license anytime before June...probably later. Scaled doesn't have their launch license either...


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:08 pm
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Considering how Armadillo leap-frogs their development, they could move fairly rapidly.


I definitely agree. After all, when Armadillo was testing the manned lander back in 2002, they often conducted several flights each weekend. There could be several hover tests of the big vehicle this weekend, which would be really cool!

Hopefully Armadillo will post some videos of the event. Although many X-Prize teams have been generating great pictures, I have yet to see many movies of rockets in flight!


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 27, 2004 1:45 am
Oh you know Armadillo will be posting video. I think the key thing will be not if they crash the prototype but when. One of the nice things about Armadillo is their ability to build quickly...unlike other teams that need to get it right the first time because they can't overcome a crash. If Armadillo can get some decent flight-time, then they can learn a multitude of things simultaneously and rapidly...a crash to soon, and it'll be slow going.

If they've finalized their engine development, then I can see them churning out a significant amount of flight hardware rather quickly.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:47 am
hold on, scaled dont have one of those launch licence things? then how long would it take to get it? that means were not going to get a shock suborbital flight on the news one morning then right? damm, i was kinda hoping theyd do it out the blue soon! have any of the teams applied?[/quote]

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 27, 2004 2:55 pm
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hold on, scaled dont have one of those launch licence things? then how long would it take to get it?


The regulatory situation for suborbital spaceflight is still a bit muddled, although it has been cleared up substantially over the last year.

As I understand it,
Rutan doesn't need a launch license for low-altitude flights that meet certain limits. Presumably the Dec 17 flight fell in that category.
Rutan does need a license for the full suborbital flight. According to this article,
"Scaled Composites filed its license application late last week [late June 2003], according to Chuck Kline, special assistant for external affairs at AST. According to law, AST has 180 days from receipt of a complete application to grant a license...He anticipates no "showstoppers" during the licensing process."
Of course, it might take a while for AST to determine that Rutan has a "complete application." To the best of my knowledge, the only company to have reached that status is XCOR (see here).

So to sum up, I expect Rutan to continue conducting rocket-powered tests, and hopefully he'll have his license soon.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 27, 2004 2:56 pm
As far as I know (please folks corret me if I'm wrong), only XCOR has a launch license. Both Scaled & Armadillo have applied and are making progress, but no launch license for either of them. Scaled is currently testing under an experimental aircraft license. If I understand things correctly, recent policy changes have determined launch license requirements based upon trajectory, not specific technology. I assume this means that Scaled cannot go for an X-prize flight without a Launch License.

Carmack has speculated that Scaled may be pursuing a "money's no object" apporach in ramming their request through the system...


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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:12 pm
A few interesting comments about the vehicle from John Carmack at the Space Frontier Foundation message board:

"We plan on leaving the engines idling through the entire coast phase. We can't carry a parachute on the unmanned flights at WSMR at all, because of the worst-case-drift issue. There has been some discussion about having a manually deployed parachute in the manned case, but using it would be an either/or option - if you use the chute, you need to come down on the nose for final ...
"We intend to never let the vehicle truly experience zero G. After the main burn, the engines will still need to be open a fair amount to keep the vehicle from decellerating abrubtly due to air resistance. As air resistence decreases, the throttle can be reduced. We plan on having some minimum axial acceleration as the throttle control. Once it starts coming back down, eventually air resistance will provide that minimum resistance, and the engines can be down to a truly minimal level needed to keep them warm before the landing... attenuation, not on the tail for engine landing."


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