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Saturday, September 13, 2003

Armadillo Aerospace News: Miscellaneous
chabot imageMuch to our dismay, our big order of platinum catalyst has been delayed again, so we didn’t get to do any engine testing this week. They say it is due to ship next Thursday now. Also no update on our 90% peroxide supply.
I spent Thursday at White Sands Missile Range discussing our flight operations. WSMR is a spectacular location for flying rockets, but they are a military facility, and they aren’t really sure they want to be involved with commercial manned rocket ships. We have some good supporters there, but they consider flying something before the end of 2004 a “very aggressive schedule” just to get all the paperwork done. Cost may also be an issue – a test taking full advantage of all the range facilities, like tracking, telemetry, flight termination, and other services, can cost $180,000 per test flight. That is a lot more than our entire vehicle costs, so we clearly aren’t interested at that level. Our position is that all we want from them is a clear range, and we will handle everything else. We need to convince them that our vehicle absolutely, positively cannot leave the range boundaries under any failure condition, so we can fly without real time monitoring and a flight termination system. Somewhat surprisingly, the dominant factor by far is drift under the main parachute if a series of failures causes the vehicle to apogee at 100,000’ and deploy the main parachute there. High winds can cause it to drift a long way by the time it gets to the ground. Read More


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