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Aug 04, 2013, 03:37 PM
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Armadillo aerospace gone

Another wealthy entrepreneur's dreams of spaceflight succumb to physics. He once adorned all the news outlets. He was the posterboy for the private spaceflight revolution. A lack of focus & overly ambitious goals doomed him.

Originally, he was 1 of many who were going to win the 1st X prize. Then he went after some of the lunar X prizes, built engines for the rocket racing league, built some proof of concept lunar landers for NASA. None of those diversions ever led anywhere. There were 1 off prototypes for contests that had no next step. The rocket racing league fizzled. NASA's moon demos were not aimed at any actual moon mission.

He spent years working on hovering instead of trying to fly up. At times, Carmack revealed plans to launch a human on a suborbital flight on his novel square rocket, somehow evolving from hovering. Then his plans evolved to ever more traditional stick rockets, finally to a more modest plan to launch unmanned payloads. His focus seemed to improve in the final years, but it was too late.

He spent the early years working on a cheap peroxide engine. Then he evolved to alcohol, then finally the same tried & true kerosene as every previous rocket. His spherical tanks & novel engine designs were considered the gold standard for experimenters, but the time spent on all the square rockets & hovering algorithms was a dead end.

If he focused on just 1 mission, using tried & true kerosene from the beginning, he could have done it. So many men just want to have a space something, but something about dreamers also makes them bad at economics or having a plan.
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