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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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Space Station Commander
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Post Re: Perfect test flight, more answers   Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:40 am
John Carmack wrote:
The test flight went perfectly, so I did a mid-week update:

http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home/News?news_id=263

Incredible, to see that video of your vehicle going up out of shot and then come down again ... it didn't seem real ... amazing job.

Was there any negative "impact" on the landing configuration at 1 m/s? With a larger vehicle do you intend to reduce landing speed further?

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Post Great video!   Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:28 pm
Incredible video! It looked like a very controlled touch-down.

Two small questions:
1. what's the whistling sound on warm-up?
2. is it possible to mount a camera on it like on the previous vehicle (the "lander")?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:24 pm
Absolutely awesome flight... Glad to see a N. Texas space entrepreneur succeed. Anybody else remember the Beal corp?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:42 pm
That video is brilliant. Well done team Armadillo. :D

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 2:01 pm
beautiful..... just beautiful. SS1 may be a prettier ship, but there's a certain elegance to seeing something take off and land well while completely under automatic control.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 2:07 pm
I have a question maybe also other people could tell me;
With a powered landing as shown on the latest movie, if the rocket would come from orbit.
Won't this stop the reentry problem in the earth's atmosphere ?
I think if scaled wants to go higher they are very limited.. but if I'm right. with Armadillo their concept, it seems they won't have a height limitation.. do they ? except from fuel storage of course..

Btw, the latest movie really looked promising.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 2:17 pm
From the little I understand, I don't believe a VTOL ability can be used to prevent re-entry heating. If I do understand this right, you have to use the thrust in the opposite direction to that of travel, therefore adjacent to the Earth's surface, to reduce speed to leave orbit. It is this action that leads to the descent into the atmosphere while still travelling at a fair old whack. I can only imagine you would need two off-set main engines and a shed load of fuel to carry out a controlled descent to sub-orbital flight, if indeed it is even possible. Dr Keith probably knows. :D

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Last edited by luke.r on Wed Jun 16, 2004 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 2:26 pm
I know this is a QA thread - I don't have any pressing questions - but I had to offer my congratulations to the Armadillo team on a great boosted hop! Also, thank you John for the frequent and regular public updates - they are highly appreciated.

Best of luck.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 2:52 pm
Sigurd wrote:
I have a question maybe also other people could tell me;
With a powered landing as shown on the latest movie, if the rocket would come from orbit.
Won't this stop the reentry problem in the earth's atmosphere ?
I think if scaled wants to go higher they are very limited.. but if I'm right. with Armadillo their concept, it seems they won't have a height limitation.. do they ? except from fuel storage of course

Actually JC is the one who should answer this ... but in the meantime I'll give it a whack ... I imagine they would have to deal with increased heat shielding like anyone else wanting to return from higher up, and if you are going to burn fuel to reduce descent speed ... well, that's a lot of extra fuel to lug up there in the first place. Besides, I thought Carmack wants to switch his engines entirely off during descent until landing preps.

Basically, what luke.r said already ... although I'm not sure if it's considered impossible to use thrusters to slow descent in order to offset heating, I think it's just accepted that for the mass of fuel required for it to work you can use heat shielding instead and save (a lot of?) weight.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 3:39 pm
That movie certainly brought a big grin to my face!

Looks like the Japanese people working on the RVT project might be *very* impressed by this!

Your team is inspiring thousands of people, I'm sure. Burt's approach, while very elegant, still has somewhat of a big corporation aura around it, you guys are more the "kids in the shed" type, and i think a lot of youngsters are simply lapping it up.

Future engineers will quote your project as a mayor incentive for them entering college, I'm sure.

Thank you John. For getting this team together! For making it work!


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 3:42 pm
That new testflght movie.. all I can say is "WOW!"

I feel like the DC-X has been reincarnated.


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Post Re-Entry Heating   Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:43 pm
luke.r wrote:
From the little I understand, I don't believe a VTOL ability can be used to prevent re-entry heating. If I do understand this right, you have to use the thrust in the opposite direction to that of travel, therefore adjacent to the Earth's surface, to reduce speed to leave orbit. It is this action that leads to the descent into the atmosphere while still travelling at a fair old whack. I can only imagine you would need two off-set main engines and a shed load of fuel to carry out a controlled descent to sub-orbital flight, if indeed it is even possible. Dr Keith probably knows. :D


Forward firing rocket motors are an effective way to reduce re-entry heating.

NASA has looked at the method for use during aerobraking maneuvers on interplanetary missions.

The limit of course is the size of the propellant tanks.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:01 pm
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
Sigurd wrote:
I have a question maybe also other people could tell me;
With a powered landing as shown on the latest movie, if the rocket would come from orbit.
Won't this stop the reentry problem in the earth's atmosphere ?
I think if scaled wants to go higher they are very limited.. but if I'm right. with Armadillo their concept, it seems they won't have a height limitation.. do they ? except from fuel storage of course

Actually JC is the one who should answer this ... but in the meantime I'll give it a whack ... I imagine they would have to deal with increased heat shielding like anyone else wanting to return from higher up, and if you are going to burn fuel to reduce descent speed ... well, that's a lot of extra fuel to lug up there in the first place. Besides, I thought Carmack wants to switch his engines entirely off during descent until landing preps.

Basically, what luke.r said already ... although I'm not sure if it's considered impossible to use thrusters to slow descent in order to offset heating, I think it's just accepted that for the mass of fuel required for it to work you can use heat shielding instead and save (a lot of?) weight.


http://www.designation-systems.net/dusr ... print.html

In regards to atmospheric heating it is informative to consider the case of the Sprint missile, the second stage of which attained Mach 10+ at altitudes below 100,000 feet.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 17, 2004 12:11 am
Your work is very personally inspiring.

My question is this:

In making an x-prize attempt, do you intend to send up three people, or are you going to send one person and a payload of wieght that is equivalent to two additional people? Though I may be incorrect, I remember reading somewhere that a single pilot and a sufficient payload would satisfy the requirements for the x-prize. I haven't verified that fact, however.

Secondly, though I am notably inexperienced in phyisics theory, I thought I had read somewhere that certain factors in a physical scenario change with scale. If this is true, do you think you will have to do significant work on the software that controls the landing when you test it on the full size vehicle?


Thank you for your time and effort in regards to publishing reports and making media available for download. Watching private space travel take its first steps is a very profound and invigorating experience.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 17, 2004 2:21 am
Forrest wrote:
In making an x-prize attempt, do you intend to send up three people, or are you going to send one person and a payload of wieght that is equivalent to two additional people? Though I may be incorrect, I remember reading somewhere that a single pilot and a sufficient payload would satisfy the requirements for the x-prize. I haven't verified that fact, however.


you are correct. in fact, i'm pretty sure all the teams only plan on having one person on the flights, due to the fact that the ship will not be fully tested when they occur.

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