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ArmadilloAlert

Posted by: Dr_Keith_H - Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:48 am
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Post ArmadilloAlert   Posted on: Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:48 am
Heads up ladies, there's another update on the Armadillo site ...

http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/A ... ews_id=261

There is an interesting image of the latest small test vehicle ...

http://media.armadilloaerospace.com/200 ... seGear.jpg

What about that landing gear? (er ... that is landing gear right?) What's with the springs? Is there more to the landing gear than that? If they land funny on hard springs wont it sorta bounce-n-flip?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 07, 2004 12:59 pm
i think those are internal shock absorbers...

... if not they're going for a martial arts rolling landing :D (but i'm pretty sure they're to minimize the shock on the internal workings (not to mention humans) at landing)


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:00 pm
Thanks for the heads up, Dr. Keith! I'm really enjoying reading all of the Armadillo reports.

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Post Re: ArmadilloAlert   Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:37 am
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
What about that landing gear? (er ... that is landing gear right?) What's with the springs? Is there more to the landing gear than that? If they land funny on hard springs wont it sorta bounce-n-flip?


Well he did say that it'd have to land almost perfectly in order not to tip over. Somehow I think that is the landing gear. Sometimes I think they just like breaking stuff. On the other hand John has basically said a few times that he enjoys challenges. If that is the landing gear it's certainly going to be challenge.

Considering that the entire Armadillo team is doing this in their spare time while working other full time jobs, I'd love to see what they could pull off if they all took a couple of weeks off of their regular jobs and put all that time into Armadillo. They certainly have gotten to the point of being able to rapidly put together stuff.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 3:55 am
I'm sorry, "Armadillo Alert?" What is this an alert about? Sorry, maybe this is just me, but if I were John Carmack I would be more embarrased than proud of those photos in the new update. Currently we have photos of SpaceShipOne flying up to 200,000 feet, Canadian Arrow's massive engine firing tests, and Starchaser's Nova, and Armadillo is showing us what, some shock absorbers on the bottom of a vehicle meant to go 20 feet in the air? That's not something that I can really get exited about.

I think that what Armadillo is doing is great, but they don't really have much of a viable post-X-Prize future. Armadillo is less like a scrappy entrepenurial firm like Starchaser and more like the monster garage of manned rocketry. Even that stretches what they've done, Armadillo's only manned flights are a five second hover that topped out at three feet and one time when they dropped Russ Blink another six feet durning a test of the old vehicle's landing system. By the way, that landing system has now been thrown out. Armadillo will prove that even a teensy shoestring budget can get you into space, but not much else. Scaled will get us into space first, and Canadian Arrow and Starchaser will launch the real industry after Scaled has proved it mature enough. Mos X-Prizers seem to have thier place in the alt. space evolution, and I doubt that Armadillo will get much done in the long run.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:30 am
How many firms will the Market support do you think?

Scaled's software Crashed on the way down and had to be rebooted. Armadillo has software way ahead of anyone else ant the VTOL approach is the best.

But yeah, it could be a while before it's even remotely "commercial".

Mind you Doom 1 was shareware.

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Post Armadillo   Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:22 am
Sure, all armadillo's got are some hops. but the Wright brother's first flights were small too. And anyway, they've got a great mascot! :P [/u]


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:06 am
Provocative trolls are interesting.

Wow Braun that was pretty negative. Carmack should be more embarressed than proud? At least he HAS done some sort of manned tests (admittedly by comparison they don't seem much, but imagine if Rutan decided against entering ... Carmack would be IT as far as manned-tests-to-date are concerned ... and manned tests are what get us all excited)

I especially note your comment ... "Armadillo will prove that even a teensy shoestring budget can get you into space, but not much else."

Jesus H Christ man, what does it take to impress you anyway?

John Carmack is the current embodiment of the garage-engineer spirit that got human beings off the ground at Kittyhawk. If he suddenly stopped putting updates on his webpage it will be because of disparaging comments like yours.

It would be nice if you could offer Armadillo some sort of constructive advice ... but I suspect your advice would be "pull out".

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:24 pm
Yes, I second the fact that Armadillo has done at least some manned test. That puts them ahead of every other competitor except for Rutan, as far as I can see. But at the rate they seem to be going, it's going to be a while (I'd say more than a year) before they get a guy into space.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:05 pm
I think Armadillo is pretty impressive. For a group of amateurs they have done some neat stuff. And they allready had three or four vehicles in the air. That is a lot more then most other groups. And they have one very big advantage: they don't have to worry a lot about money. The only other team that has a reliable financing source is Scaled. Da Vinci also seems to have enough sponsors and thus money. I do not understand why everybody has so much confidence in Starchaser. Their technology seems OK but where is the money to buy the hardware? They seem to have very big problems raising the money they need. The British corporate world does not seem to have much fate in Starchaser. If they search long enough Starchaser may find the money, but i do not expect to see this happening before the end of 2005.

Another reason why i like Armadillo is their web site. Their website is rather simple but i like it that way. And they have those weekly updates. I always look forward to monday evening when i can read them. Their update always makes me laugh, when they announce another crazy idea or they have some cool video or pictures. And i certainly like their video's, i must have seem everyone at least a dozen times. I especially like the video's where another vehicle crashes. :D That's spectacular footage. (Why go to a car race when you can see a spectacular crash for free?). Also when you look at a video you can feel these guys have fun.

I do have my doubts whit their latest vehicle. The landing has to be perfect or it will simply fall over. But they will have to make it work because their medium vehicle also has a rather narrow base.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 10:11 pm
if that really is their final landing gear they just dropped down to the saucer level in my book... but then again i really really doubt four shockabsobers are their landing gear (no software in the world will make up for such a deficiency)

seriously guys (and gals)


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:01 am
Personally,

I am glad that they post pictures like this. How many other x-prize teams are showing you pictures of their failures and triumphs both. They are open and I like that. The technology also has the best future in my opinion. This could be a vehicle that has a turn around time of hours not days.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:33 am
As much as I love Armadillo I really don't think it matter much at this point what they've got. They're missing that critical launch license and without the can't do anything much beyond their tether tests with the 850 gallon tank vehicle. I really doubt they can even do that much with the 1600 gallon vehicle, which in my opinion has been suspiciously absent in the background of any recent pictures. John has stated that he'd like to do at least 8 full unmanned flights before attempting a manned launch of a large vehicle. With White Sands wanting $750,000 for merely four flights that would put the range costs roughly equal to all of his total vehicle related costs. The only other option he seems to have is the Oklahoma spaceport, which to my knowledge does not have a site license for verticle launch vehicles at this time. That doesn't really leave Armadillo much choice as far as actually launching something. If the people at White Sands didn't think the parachute/crushable nose cone would stay in the borders of the range (in high winds at that) and their range costs were lower i'm sure that the four engine version of the Black Armadillo would have flown several times already.

As far as a viable space business goes I'm not sure that Armadillo has really stated exactly what their plans are, other than that they don't believe that it'll be in competition with Scaled. Without knowing what they're planning it's pretty hard to say that they're behind anyone. As far as engine testing goes I think that Armadillo is certainly not behind anyone who deosn't actually sell rocket engines. Scaled has more flight time but I think if you added up all the engine firings that Armadillo has done over the past couple of years it might surprise some people.

For some reason I really think that there's more going on at Armadillo than they're admitting to.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:19 am
From John Carmack:

We have considered making a cluster of four 12" engines with interconnect pipes between them underneath both the hot pack and cold pack to provide some level of balancing, but I would still expect some problems with that arrangement over a single 24" engine. We don't see any particular problem in fabricating a 24" engine, it will just cost about $30,000 and take a month and a half.

At this point, since it looks likely that Burt is going to win the X-Prize, we are going to stay focused on the 12" engines and waivered flights without a launch license until one of the commercial spaceports actually gets their environmental work done so we can bypass paying WSMR $1 mil+ for doing our flight tests there. If Burt crashes or otherwise fails in his attempt this month, we may consider racing at it, but there probably isn't enough time in any case.

http://lists.erps.org/archives/erps-list/msg06515.shtml


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:12 am
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
Provocative trolls are interesting.


Hey, I take offense at that! Just because I form a different opinion than you guys, and because I don't blindly give support to the "popular" teams (Scaled and Armadillo) that makes me a troll? Dude, you need to be a little more open minded. I wasn't trying to spark a flame war, I was just putting in my two cents.

Dr_Keith_H wrote:
Wow Braun that was pretty negative. Carmack should be more embarressed than proud? At least he HAS done some sort of manned tests (admittedly by comparison they don't seem much, but imagine if Rutan decided against entering ... Carmack would be IT as far as manned-tests-to-date are concerned ... and manned tests are what get us all excited)


That's not entirely true. Last summer Starchaser did some very successful tests of thier capsule up in Eloy, AZ. True, that wasn't thier final capsule design (It only carried one person) but it was something.

Dr_Keith_H wrote:
John Carmack is the current embodiment of the garage-engineer spirit that got human beings off the ground at Kittyhawk. If he suddenly stopped putting updates on his webpage it will be because of disparaging comments like yours.

It would be nice if you could offer Armadillo some sort of constructive advice ... but I suspect your advice would be "pull out".


Okay, I'll give you that line about Kitty Hawk but did the Wrights go anywhere after that? Argument by analogy is always weak, but under this analogy Starchaser and Canadian Arrow would be more like Glenn Curtiss. Curtiss was the first one to actually make a profitable business out of aviation, while the Wrights just kind of sat there and filed a bunch of lawsuits against him. This may sound heretical (Especially after your harsh response), but even if the Wrights had never bothered to takle aviation the likes of people like Santos DuMont, Curtiss, and Alexander Grahm Bell would have invented flight anyway. They were all working completely seperate of the Wrights but ended up flying anyway, without their help. We'd just be celebrating the centennial of flight in 2006 instead of '03.

You seem to like dwelling on my negative comments so much you missed the main point of my post. I wasn't just trying to say that Armadillo is stupid and should give up, I was just saying that I don't believe they're worth all the hype they recieve. I love reading their updates too, were it not for them I probably would have gotten bored with the X-Prize race a long time ago, but that's not a reason to call them a great, front-running team. If any of the other front runners (SC, CA, DaVinci, Starchaser, ARCA, etc.) posted as often as Armadillo it would be just as interesting, but we're not given that choice. Don't expect him to stop posting regular updates anytime soon. For every skeptic like me there's probably a hundred devout followers of the church of Carmack. That last comment isn't supposed to provoke anyone, just chill.

Since you seem to ask, I'll tell you what my advice to Armadillo would be. I've never e-mailed any of the X-Prize teams, but if I started now with them I'd probably tell them to keep going no matter what happens or who flies before them. Alt. space is fraught with folded plans, half-baked ideas, and, most sadly, pure genius with no money to work with. Every group that has even a snowball's chance of getting into space should be supported with the fullest effort. But remember, we have freedom of speech here. Just because Armadillo's going to make it into space doesn't mean that they should be blindly worshipped by a flock of sheep at a message board (Sorry if that comes off abrasively). If we never question the teams or reality, what's the point in even supporting them?

Btw, when I posted about the various X-Prize teams at another forum I talk on, they were all very supportive of SC and I could convince a few about Canadian Arrow, but none of them were too enthusiastic about Armadillo. I know that that doesn't prove anything, but it is a third party opinion, if that means anything.

PS. Just chill out, guys 8)

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