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Space Transportation Science

Masten and Armadillo Perform First VTVL Restarts 94

FleaPlus writes "Recently Masten Aerospace, winner of NASA's 2009 Lunar Lander Challenge, demonstrated using its Xombie vehicle the first-ever mid-flight restart of a VTVL (vertical-takeoff vertical-landing) rocket, a critical capability for the emerging suborbital/microgravity science and passenger markets (video from ground). Not to be outdone, John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace (winner of the 2008 Lunar Lander Challenge) flew its Mod rocket to 2,000 feet (610m), deployed a drogue parachute, and then restarted the engine to land (multi-view video showing John Carmack at the controls)."
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Masten and Armadillo Perform First VTVL Restarts

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  • by durrr ( 1316311 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:00PM (#32490792)
    Considering John Carmacks history of sucessfull rocket launcher designs we shouldn't really be suprised they managed a sucessfull rocket jump.
  • by MalHavoc ( 590724 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:01PM (#32490798)
    John's new 3d engine looks sweet. Incredible detail! Are there plans for a rail gun?
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:09PM (#32490854)

    to see if you can control a rocket with the WASD keys?

    This gives "Rocket Jumping" a whole new meaning.

  • by u17 ( 1730558 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:12PM (#32490886)
    Because he likes to spend time debugging his creations?
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:27PM (#32491332) Journal
    A simple one-shot kill weapon where you only have to aim and shoot to kill - in an instant of time, it reduces it to a 2D problem.

    I am waiting for the grenades. That's where it is at baby, 4D - you got to bounce AND time them.
  • by Dice ( 109560 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:50PM (#32491468)

    Pfft. Carmack doesn't use WASD, arrow keys, *or* the mouse. He has the console permanently open and controls his character's movement entirely with console commands. None of it is scripted, he's just that fast of a typist. In fact, half the time he's used timers to issue the next 90 seconds of gameplay so that he can just sit back and laugh at how predictable the rest of our movements are.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:53PM (#32491500) Homepage

    Did you say ungodly?

    Burn the blasphemous, heathen aerogel!

    Wait, fuck...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:58PM (#32491546)

    You are correct. This Space Nuttery is absolutely unrealistic and unfeasible. It never, ever made sense and is mostly delusions, fantasies and sci-fi nonsense that makes for good dreams but makes zero economical and engineering sense.

    I mean just read Doc Ruby's nonsense. Aerogels? Windows? Is the man on crack? If it were useful, we can make aerogel here on Earth... Who could afford windows made in space? Absolute nonsense.

    These space manufacturing fantasies are the justifications that war-mongers used in the 1950s and 1960s to justify rocket research, that were actually meant to deliver nuclear payloads halfway around the earth quickly.

    I have read many space engineering textbooks. They usually throw in a few "ball bearings made in space" one-liners either as the author's ironic sarcasm, or some sort of weak justification that this isn't just weapons research.

    These ideas mostly reflect the era: cheap energy, massive manufacturing capacity and very expensive computers. (And a powerful technological enemy "over there".)

    In the DECADES that the Space Nutters are still hurling tin cans around the planet, computers have progressed way beyond even the wildest Space Age prognostications. I've read those too. Very few people understood what cheap computers could do, eventually.

    Strangely enough, the people 40 years ago who said we'd be connected 24/7 with cheap computers were seen mostly as crackpots, and the space colony types were seen as realistic. 40 years later, the roles have swapped.

    We don't need free-fall to make perfect ball bearings, we can simulate the entire process digitally and use computerized control in the process here on Earth to make ball bearings. And I don't know about you, but ball bearings have always worked just fine when manufactured on Earth. Just more Space Nuttery quackery and delusion.

    It's a religion of the 20th century. A religion that says we have unlimited energy (we don't), unlimited technology (we don't), and unlimited markets up there (completely psychotic). Space Nuttery should be in the DSM-IV, a genuine psychiatric disturbance, a psychotic break with reality.

    Yes, the imagery of the Space Age is grandiose and romantic. It hasn't panned out. There will be no space habitats, moon colonies or space manufacturing.

    ANY technology you can use in space, you can use on Earth much easier.

    Free-fall, lack of water and atmosphere are totally alien environments, you'd have to re-design every single machine and every single process to work up there. Think of how many things you take for granted on Earth, like things fall down. Inertia works differently in free-fall. Just that changes everything. How do you shake a few tons of molten metal in space? Well, since you are no longer coupled to 6x10^24 kg of mass (Earth), you pretty much shake the entire factory. Just that is an entire engineering problem in itself. This also kills asteroid mining.

    As you noted, there is nothing up there. Everything we need is right here, easier and cheaper to get at, extract, refine and sell.

    Space is a dead end.

    But did you hear about the guy who makes artificial DNA and shoves it back into living cells?

    That's the future. The biotech right now is at the level of late 1950s mainframe computers. They are in the hands of a few smart, avant-garde people with lots of money, and a few people with more prosaic needs.

    The next decades will bring biotech in the hands of more and more people as it gets cheaper and cheaper.

    The applications will be as unpredictable as the applications of millions of cheap computers in the hands of everyone were for the Space Age.

    Space will always be difficult, and have a few uses. It will never, ever be the dreamland the psychotic Space Nutters make it out to be, for simple physical and economical reasons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:26PM (#32491768)

    Throw in a rocket halfway up and you are going to the moon baby!

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton