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Friday, April 30, 2004

Armadillo in the X Prize hunt
chabot imageAlan Boyle wrote:Armadillo Aerospace's John Carmack set me straight about his attitude toward the X Prize, the $10 million competition for privately funded spaceflight. I went slightly overboard when I wrote that Carmack considered himself out of the running for this year because of the logistical difficulties.
"A slight correction — we haven't given up on the chance of winning the X-Prize," Carmack wrote today. "I was just being honest in saying that a lot of things would have to go right to make it happen, which isn't a high probability bet. We will undoubtedly be flying full-scale hardware this year, but getting everything well-tested enough to carry people, hitting all the performance marks, and getting the launch license all in the next eight months will be tough."
One thing I don't want to do is sell Carmack and his Armadillo team short. During the Space Access '04 conference, there were repeated references to the Orteig Prize competition of the 1920s, which was won by underdog Charles Lindbergh instead of the favorite, Richard Byrd. The pundits turned out to be wrong in 1927, and I'll try not to make that mistake again.


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