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Another John Carmack rocket explodes

Another John Carmack rocket explodes

Don't worry, John Carmack won't be leaving Earth any time soon.

John Carmack is a lot of things - an ace programmer, one of the few well known figures in PC game design and also an astronaut wanna-be. The man behind the Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein games has long been interested in spacecraft and has founded his own company, Armadillo Aerospace, to try and put the worlds first independant spaceship on the moon.

His attempts have been well documented - mainly because they usually result in large explosions and everyone gently poking fun at the bespectacled coder. Today is no exception.

Armadillo Aerospace recently partook in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge and tried to get a modular class rocket into space and landed on the moon. The effort was part of a special event organised by X-prize.

Unfortunately, the rocket never really got going. It did make it off the ground just about, but an engine explosion kept it from getting anywhere near the target.

Luckily nobody was hurt in the explosion and Carmack will soon be behind his desk again, tapping out some fresh code for Rage, the new game from id Software. The explosion probably won't discourage Carmack much either - he's been trying to get off planet Earth for a while now and this isn't going to phase his efforts.

Want to poke fun at Carmack or just want to wish him good luck next time? Do it in the forums!

17 Comments

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Jamie 31st October 2007, 10:47 Quote
It's been all downhill since Quake 1 for him.
Mankz 31st October 2007, 11:13 Quote
Nice photo...
Breach 31st October 2007, 11:15 Quote
It is cool to see privateers doing what NASA isn't, I hope they succeed
GreatOldOne 31st October 2007, 11:16 Quote
Hmmm - usually end in large explosions? Not really. The only big explosion they had was when texel crashed. This time round the engine blew.

Armadillo Aerospace has been flying their rockets for years now. The Pixel flyer has done multiple flights that would have won both of the X-Prize Luner Lander prizes - in front of the organisers and the FAA. It's just they seem to have bad luck when they're at the X-Prize cup...

And the pic is misleading - that's not one of John's rockets.
CardJoe 31st October 2007, 11:58 Quote
No - the pic isn't at all, its just a random rocket from a similar attempt a while back and wasn't meant to be linked to John.
knuck 31st October 2007, 12:08 Quote
I saw him and his rockets on discovery chanel
Rebourne 31st October 2007, 12:32 Quote
Well if it makes it to the moon, that's pretty cool and if it just explodes while full of rocket fuel that's pretty cool as well (as long as no one is in it). It's win-win really.
wolff000 31st October 2007, 12:36 Quote
I really hope that these private space companies are able to do it, either Carmack's or someone elses. NASA has been sitting on it's hands for way too long. We made it to the bloody moon with less know how than we have know yet we don't even have a fully functional space station yet?!? Either we are being lied to about progress or they move slower than a sloth.
Firehed 31st October 2007, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolff000
I really hope that these private space companies are able to do it, either Carmack's or someone elses. NASA has been sitting on it's hands for way too long. We made it to the bloody moon with less know how than we have know yet we don't even have a fully functional space station yet?!? Either we are being lied to about progress or they move slower than a sloth.
It's an issue of a lack of funding, but I totally agree. Why can't we undertake a (really freakin' cool) project for the sake of doing something awesome?
[USRF]Obiwan 31st October 2007, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolff000
I really hope that these private space companies are able to do it, either Carmack's or someone elses. NASA has been sitting on it's hands for way too long. We made it to the bloody moon with less know how than we have know yet we don't even have a fully functional space station yet?!? Either we are being lied to about progress or they move slower than a sloth.


Well in the early days nasa had Werner von Braun AND compitition from rusia. And lots of money to spend because there was no war that needed much fundings, ok there was vietnam but that started on the end the rocketprogram in the 60ties. Besides that, the rockets where for war also (atomic bombs). The moon project was just a side project, until rusia launched the spoetnik.

Now US is 800 biljon in dept (that is every american with minus 20.000 dollar on the bank) and there is a war that cost about the same. So there is no way that nasa can get fundings. Its because the european/rusian fundings nasa is still launching stuff to the ISS.
Bluephoenix 31st October 2007, 15:57 Quote
Intern at GSFC (goddard spaceflight center) here,

the real problem is indeed funding, but also the care with which space bound objects have to be crafted, plus all the impact tests from space debris, radiation and EM hardening, and the multitude of other environmental hazards that have to be protected against, creates delays and holdups.
wolff000 31st October 2007, 16:16 Quote
The biggest problem I have heard of is people with inflated salaries and their refusal to use off the shelf parts. They don't have to manufacture everything. They are also passing up on millions by telling the space tourists that have gone up in the last few years to go some where else. Letting Russia make a few million that could have been ours. I know a few mill isn't a lot compared to what it costs to get stuff in space but if the budget is so tight why pass up any money making opportunity. Hell slap a big sign on the side of the shuttle "This space for rent." I bet plenty of companies would pay a bundle for that kind of ad.
moshpit 31st October 2007, 17:15 Quote
Wait, can't we do both? Wish him luck AND poke fun at him? :p
Dvs98SK 31st October 2007, 17:42 Quote
I hope he succeeds eventually.
supermonkey 31st October 2007, 18:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolff000
I really hope that these private space companies are able to do it, either Carmack's or someone elses. NASA has been sitting on it's hands for way too long. We made it to the bloody moon with less know how than we have know yet we don't even have a fully functional space station yet?!? Either we are being lied to about progress or they move slower than a sloth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
Well in the early days nasa had Werner von Braun AND compitition from rusia. And lots of money to spend because there was no war that needed much fundings, ok there was vietnam but that started on the end the rocketprogram in the 60ties. Besides that, the rockets where for war also (atomic bombs). The moon project was just a side project, until rusia launched the spoetnik.

Now US is 800 biljon in dept (that is every american with minus 20.000 dollar on the bank) and there is a war that cost about the same. So there is no way that nasa can get fundings. Its because the european/rusian fundings nasa is still launching stuff to the ISS.

:| What?

I'll address the last point first: European and Russian funds are not the only reason NASA is able to launch stuff to the ISS. If anything, NASA is helping to keep the Russian space program alive (that and the money generated from space tourism). NASA may be underfunded. It's hard to get money for NASA, because a large portion of the general public has a very negative attitude toward what we do. They cry out about NASA getting too much money, but the reality is that NASA only gets less than one half of one percent of the overall federal budget. We get a small drop in the bucket. Right now we are using what we can to achieve some pretty good results.

Second, a lot of people scratch their heads about why NASA isn't doing X or Y. Part of the reason is because NASA is a federal agency, and is partially under the control of the President. In short, we couldn't start a mission to the moon until the President told us to go. There is some latitude when it comes to specific projects, but the overall goals are directed by the federal government, not NASA itself.

Yes, we made it to the moon some decades ago with relatively less technology. We also did it with a lot more funding, less attention to safety, and with a very different political and cultural atmosphere. The reality is that safe and scientific spaceflight is one of the hardest things humans have ever tried to do. NASA has been sitting on its hands for too long!? Do you have any idea what it takes to design, build, and maintain an orbiting scientific laboratory, and keep it running safely 24 hours/day, 365 days/year?

We've been doing exactly that for the last few years. I'm not sure why you said that the ISS isn't fully functional. Sure, it's not fully built yet, but I can assure you it is very functional. Even then, I refer back to my previous question. Due to the frequency and inclination of orbit, there are select times when the Shuttle can launch so that it will rendezvous with the ISS. Take the infrequent launch windows, add launch constraints beyond our control (i.e. weather), time required to build a module (which carries its own set of difficulties), and a myriad of other parameters that have to line up, and you start to understand exactly why the ISS wasn't built over a weekend.

-monkey
Duste 1st November 2007, 02:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
Yes, we made it to the moon some decades ago...

Oh, now we know you're lying!

Lol. :P
Rebourne 2nd November 2007, 04:14 Quote
I really want us to figure out how to make a warp drive because I really want to meet a Vulcan.
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