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Space Moon Transportation Technology

Armadillo Aerospace Takes Level 1 Lunar Lander Prize 50

jedibfa writes "Las Cruces International Airport came alive with applause and cheers yesterday afternoon as John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace took the first place prize for the Level 1 challenge of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, winning $350,000 and bragging rights. Adding to the excitement of the day, shortly before completing their second qualifying flight, Armadillo Aerospace and The Rocket Racing League announced a joint program to develop a sub-orbital tourist vehicle that will fly out of the New Mexico-based Spaceport America and cost less than $100,000 per ticket. On Sunday, the team will have three opportunities to go for the Level 2 challenge that more closely approximates the required performance for a real lunar landing. Good luck, Armadillo Aerospace, both on Sunday and in your new endeavor!" We discussed preparations for the challenge last week. Several other readers have contributed additional coverage, including the Space Fellowship's live blog of the event, the website for Truezer0, another team participating in the challenge, and a VentureBeat article discussing the economic downturn in space exploration, and how the X-prize competitions figure in. Today's Level 2 challenge will be covered live via webcast.
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Armadillo Aerospace Takes Level 1 Lunar Lander Prize

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2008 @10:55AM (#25509475)

    Carmack isn't a particularly brilliant programmer. He's just pragmatic and dedicated to putting in the effort to create something.

    The code in Q1-Q3 is your standard stuff, nothing special in there and in fact it's too limited in many areas that could use a little more flexibility (ie. it was a bad design). It's basically a hacker's engine. You know, like what a kid would write in his garage. This is pretty much why he had to write a whole new engine from scratch each time. However limited in design, his stuff is simple and fast so that's his advantage. Nothing brilliant about that though. Don't get me wrong, it's all good. I prefer the Quake engine because I'm a garage hacker myself.

    This is in contrast to something like the Unreal engine which is based on code developed more than 10 years ago. Not that this is a good approach either. The Unreal engine is complicated and was in development for years, went way over budget and missed schedules left and right. Once it was done though it has proven to be very flexible and extensible and continues to this day as a perfectly modern and popular engine. It's more like what a computer scientist would design and build.

    Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. I tend to split the difference with my own programming work.

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @12:00PM (#25509817) Journal

    Obama, the likely next President of the United States has recently said of such prizes...

    To be fair, it was probably just some (lame) election rethoric on Obama's part, even though Obama might be more inclined to go for big state funded programmes rather than offer incentives to private enterprise.

    By the way, what is the deal with Obama...? Europe has always been leaning slightly towards Democrat candidates in presidential elections, but it's reached ridiculous levels this time. The media show nothing but Obama, the Dutch national broadcast service sent a team of 8 reporters and tv show people to cover Obama's campain 24/7, then they more or less "forgot" to send anyone to cover McCain at the Republican convention. Palin did get a little press... it's small wonder that as a result over 85% of this country would vote for Obama if given the chance; they don;t even know who the other guy is. It's like those old Soviet Union elections where there's only one candidate.

  • by cecom ( 698048 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @12:08PM (#25509863) Homepage Journal

    he code in Q1-Q3 is your standard stuff, nothing special in there and in fact it's too limited in many areas that could use a little more flexibility (ie. it was a bad design)...Nothing brilliant about that though.

    Nonsense. I didn't see you write it. Brilliance means having the vision and persistence to get the job done when it needs to be done. To know what has to be done, to be able to make the right compromises, etc. Carmack really is f*ing brilliant.

    Looking at the job that somebody else has done successfully and thinking that you could have done it, now that you have seen it, is ridiculous. Technically I get the same thoughts what I look at Carmack's sources (or at the Linux kernel sources for that matter). But the point is, you or I didn't write those things.

    Remember, most brilliant ideas appear obvious in hindsight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2008 @01:14PM (#25510183)

    > I was writing 3D engines at the same time Quake1 was being developed. I work in the business too.

    So its envy?

    I dont see you posting with your name. So put up or shut up.

  • by YourExperiment ( 1081089 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @01:56PM (#25510521)
    No, I think he's saying that it's truly incomprehensible that anyone in their right mind would elect someone like McCain at this point in time.

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