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Armadillo Aerospace reaches beta (with a large bonus)

Filed under: Uncategorized — mgrusin at 9:35 am on Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CRW_7604Another X-Prize won!  Armadillo Aerospace is the first team to win the Lunar Lander Challenge (but the demonstration window is still open, and other teams could still share the prize money).

One thing I really like about Armadillo is that from the beginning they’ve done their engineering in small increments, fixing what doesn’t work as they go along.  They’ve been at this a long time and their logs are fascinating to read; full of endless problems with metallurgy, thermodynamics, supersonic flow, control… all encountered through thousands of tests, and all eventually solved.  Founder John Carmack, who made his fortune from DOOM and other video games puts it best:

When asked what lessons the traditional aerospace community should learn from their success, Carmack answered, “You learn so much more by getting out there and doing things than you do sitting at a desk running a CAD program. You can’t even imagine some of the things that wind up going wrong. It’s the unknown unknowns that get you. You wind up getting things done by going out there and trying it, accepting levels of failure and you beat the problem into submission by working on it over and over and over again. And when you can build your operations tempo up to doing things every day, that’s what we want to see in the aerospace world.”

Exactly.  They’ve definitely earned this one, and the million dollar prize ain’t bad either.

via OnOrbit

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