Statement from SARG Chair Dr. Steven Collicott on Suborbital Research Needs August 9, 2013
“The Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation notes John Carmack’s August 2, 2013 statement regarding the hibernation of rocket development at Armadillo Aerospace. The STIG rocket appeals to researchers by providing many of the advantages characteristic of next-generation suborbital vehicles including a gentle lift-off, pressurized payload bay, late payload access before launch, rapid payload access after landing, and a lower cost than traditional sounding rockets. Armadillo’s success to date, including domestic and international payloads lofted and safely recovered on several mission development flights and a flight to 95km memorably captured on video, highlights how close their hard work has brought them to achieving an important operational research capability eagerly awaited by many scientists. The researchers of SARG encourage Armadillo and all of the new suborbital companies in their pursuit of success with investors and vehicles.”
Armadillo Aerospace will not launch its STIG rocket today, Ben Brockert reports from Spaceport America via Twitter:
We are not flying today. Obviously we wish we were. We’ll update with whys and hows when we can.
The company had to cancel an earlier launch attempt on Saturday for several reasons. This is the company’s first attempt to launch a STIG rocket. The company aims to exceed 100,000 feet in this launch attempt.
Armadillo Aerospace had to scrub the inaugural launch of its STIG rocket for multiple reasons today. The company had hoped to send the rocket to more than 100,000 feet from Spaceport America.
An update from Armadillo Aerospace Founder John Carmack on today’s scrub via the aRocket group:
Initial attempt was scrubbed at the last minute when an uninvited party (a hunter) entered the exclusion zone.
Second attempt had startup transient problems.Â We continue to have startup problems in New Mexico that we don’t have in Texas.
After cold soaking under the lox tank through these efforts, the batteries started to weaken, and we had to de-tank.
For reasons that aren’t clear yet, WSMR closed the rest of our launch window today, and we may not get another opportunity until Tuesday, which sucks.Â We’ll have plenty of time to look at the startup data…
The final test of the Armadillo Aerospace “tube rocket”, named Stig. A liquid oxygen/ethyl alcohol suborbital sounding rocket, the tube rocket will be used to fly scientific payloads to altitudes up to 120km.
The company plans to conduct its first free flight on Saturday from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The goal is to exceed 100,000 feet.
Above is an image of Armadillo Aerospace’s planned SOST crew vehicle taken from a presentation that Armadillo Vice President Neil Milburn gave during the 14th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference. Additional slides on the vehicle and the company’s STIG rocket follow after the break.