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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: Mon May 09, 2011 6:00 pm
dannyTX2 wrote:
The smaller Morpheus (aka pixel) hovered ok, so why is the bigger Morpheus having so much trouble with hovering tests. Did they decide to create their own code from scratch and not reuse any of the AA code?

Yep, all of their own code, as well as a different computer. Some of the Armadillo electrical interface stuff was kept.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Mon May 09, 2011 11:52 pm
Ben wrote:
dannyTX2 wrote:
The smaller Morpheus (aka pixel) hovered ok, so why is the bigger Morpheus having so much trouble with hovering tests. Did they decide to create their own code from scratch and not reuse any of the AA code?

Yep, all of their own code, as well as a different computer. Some of the Armadillo electrical interface stuff was kept.


Does their computer eschew GPS? Just wondering if they are going straight for moon capable logic.[edit: I just read back a few posts and got the answer still curious about the lathe]

Of course I am also curious what the big lathe is for. You don't buy something that expensive without requiring serious capability. Machining bigger non-pipe sized engines with greater control of throat area?

If so, why the extended version of the lathe?

thanks,

Daniel


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue May 10, 2011 12:02 am
The bulkhead parts of Stig were all outsourced, and the price for them was a significant portion of the cost of the lathe. The length is so that Stig-tank-length tubes can have their ends trued, screw holes drilled, etc.

In terms of power, it's drastically more than we need now; you can cut 1/4" off a stainless part in one pass in the thing. But big lathes are also by default powerful lathes, for the most part.

We will be using it for making engines of course. It's unfortunate that material prices have gone up so much in the last few years.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue May 10, 2011 12:13 am
Ahh I did not consider the bulkheads. They look like they need a pass on the mill. How much of that machining can the lathe handle? Do you have a crane in the shop to match? None of the parts you mentioned would be terribly heavy but you only get one spine...


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue May 10, 2011 1:30 am
We'll be using an engine hoist for a while, and we can borrow a forklift from the neighbors. I expect we'll eventually get a forklift or set up a gantry crane. A bulkhead blank weighs about 130lb.

If we make any quantity of stigs, we'll be single-handedly restarting the Icelandic economy.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue May 10, 2011 5:47 pm
About the Morpheus lunar lander, anyone know what the fully fueled and empty weight is? How about the payload capability to the lunar surface? The Isp and delta-V capability carrying max payload?


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Thu May 12, 2011 7:42 pm
I don't know much about machining, but why couldn't you make the bulkheads on your CNC mill?


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Wed May 18, 2011 5:11 pm
The mill is basically three axis, so you can only drill and tap into the face of a part. The bulkheads for the computer and recovery sections have holes around the edge. You could jig the part in there and put one hole in a precise spot, but after that it'd just be approximations.

The machine does have a small two axis rotating part on the side of the bed, but it only has enough torque for small parts. An injector plate is about the biggest thing you can do, and you have to be gentle at that.

If you were doing this manually you'd use a rotating indexing table, but one capable of holding a 15.25" part is pricey.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Fri May 20, 2011 7:26 pm
Quote:
(from twitter) wikkit Ben Brockert
Looks like Phil spilled the beans. Most of Armadillo is indeed in New Mexico, for the purpose of launching Stig. Las Cruces this time.
15 May

I read this last week but I find it intriguing that I did not hear anything about it since then. Armadillo holding quiet until the stig temporarily leaves the face of the planet? I hope you succeed this time :D


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Sat May 21, 2011 7:49 pm
OK! If we can wait eleven years for this, I suppose a few more
days is not that big an issue.
Certainly no one can accuse John Carmack of producing
vaporware.

But I do wonder if AA has dispersed its resources and time into too many projects; with a possible deadend project or two over the past eleven years.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Sun May 22, 2011 9:10 pm
Actually, he has produced quite a lot of vapourware so far. Fortunately, rockets are supposed to emit vapours ;-). Lots of 'em, and quickly, and in the right direction. I think overall they've been pretty successful at that. In fact, I don't think there's anyone in the US currently with the breadth of hands-on experience that AA have with liquid-fueled rocket engines of those sizes (perhaps XCOR?, and Aerojet is huge of course, but I'm not sure how much of their work is paper-only). Then there is their work on hovering and control systems, modular rockets, and so on. I don't think that a project not resulting in its intended final goal necessarily means that it has been a failure. AA has so far mostly been an applied research company, and from the technical perspective, I think everything they've ever done has taught them something. Just read the early updates.

Second, Armadillo Aerospace is as much an economic experiment as it is a technical one. Maybe even more so. After all, the technology to go into space has been around for half a century, and as Elon Musk has shown, if you're willing and able to pour in a lot of money (not even that much, compared to old space), it can be done. Armadillo Aerospace operates on a completely different scale, but they are similar to SpaceX in that both are involved with commercial initiatives, and somewhat outside of the traditional space ecosystem clustered around NASA and the US military. Yes, both have done work for NASA, but AA have also done the Rocket Racers (after the other supplier dropped out, there's all that practical experience with building rocket motors again!) and are working on space tourism, while SpaceX has plenty of commercial customers lined up as well. In both cases you could say that the government work is a sideline, mainly done to get some cash to work on developing their main business.

Third, Armadillo have pioneered quite a bit of the regulatory work needed for space tourism and rocket launch activity on that scale as well. That's another thing that you don't see in the videos, but we shouldn't underestimate how difficult it has been for them to be out in New Mexico to launch a powerful rocket without breaking the law, in the post-9/11 USA.

So, has everything they've done turned into gold? No. That doesn't happen in the real world. But they have a functioning and profitable company, they've done some very interesting and novel things in the past years, and are about to embark on another one, high altitude OTRAG-style rocketry. If that turns out to have the same economy-of-scale advantages as Elon has been able to achieve, except for the suborbital space tourism market, then AA may well trigger exactly the revolution they set out to instigate.

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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Sat May 28, 2011 7:41 pm
There's a simple (ideal) geometric value
that the distance to the horizon of a 'perfectly' spherical Earth
can be 3 miles from a six feet viewing height.
And by using the square root of the height value you can calculate
the distance to an 'ideal' horizon.
Example: (600ft/6ft)^1/2 x 3 miles = 30 miles.

So, if the first tube rocket went upto an altitude of 20,000 feet, it
could be viewed from as far as 160 miles away, barring atmospheric opacity
rugged terrain, etc.
I'm wondering if the the first youtube, twitter or facebook video,
report or image of the rocket either exploding into pieces, or tumbling out of control is on the Net yet?


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Tue May 31, 2011 8:42 am
ordinary joe wrote:
There's a simple (ideal) geometric value
that the distance to the horizon of a 'perfectly' spherical Earth
can be 3 miles from a six feet viewing height.
And by using the square root of the height value you can calculate
the distance to an 'ideal' horizon.
Example: (600ft/6ft)^1/2 x 3 miles = 30 miles.

So, if the first tube rocket went upto an altitude of 20,000 feet, it
could be viewed from as far as 160 miles away, barring atmospheric opacity
rugged terrain, etc.
I'm wondering if the the first youtube, twitter or facebook video,
report or image of the rocket either exploding into pieces, or tumbling out of control is on the Net yet?


Apparently you can see a shuttle launch from about 70 miles - not much more. A shuttle is MUCH bigger than the Stig with a much more visible plume, so I think even at 10 miles would be difficult to see the Stig. And trying to lock on with binoculars or a scope would be nigh on impossible.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:47 am
I used to work in Jupiter, FL. We would typically go outside to view a space shuttle launch. This was probably more realistically on the viewable limit. You may be able to see it for 30 or 40 more miles, but definitely visible. I will point out that most of what we saw was the plume, but the vehicle was visible.

Sounds like you got some bad info.


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Post Re: Official Armadillo Q&A thread   Posted on: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:03 pm
JamesHughes wrote:
ordinary joe wrote:
There's a simple (ideal) geometric value
that the distance to the horizon of a 'perfectly' spherical Earth
can be 3 miles from a six feet viewing height.
And by using the square root of the height value you can calculate
the distance to an 'ideal' horizon.
Example: (600ft/6ft)^1/2 x 3 miles = 30 miles.

So, if the first tube rocket went upto an altitude of 20,000 feet, it
could be viewed from as far as 160 miles away, barring atmospheric opacity
rugged terrain, etc.
I'm wondering if the the first youtube, twitter or facebook video,
report or image of the rocket either exploding into pieces, or tumbling out of control is on the Net yet?


Apparently you can see a shuttle launch from about 70 miles - not much more. A shuttle is MUCH bigger than the Stig with a much more visible plume, so I think even at 10 miles would be difficult to see the Stig. And trying to lock on with binoculars or a scope would be nigh on impossible.


I regularly watch the shuttle and smaller launch vehicles from 65 miles with no issue and I know that the shuttle is visible from Tampa (120 miles) with favorable conditions.

JAA


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