Carmack Offers Prize for Next Rocket Flight

Armadillo Aerospace Founder John Carmack has offered a prize for “the next ground launched rocket flight above 100,000′ with GPS log and successful recovery.” He offered $5,000 for the flight; that total is now at $8,000 with contributions by Paul Breed ($2,000) and Robin Snelson ($1,000). Carmack’s description of the prize follows after the break.

I’ll open this up to everyone — $5k for the next ground launched rocket flight above 100,000′ with GPS log and successful recovery.  It isn’t much of a prize, so think of it as if I am sponsoring the nice public report on the flight.

We can have a bit of a discussion about details, then I will officially announce the start.  I think the general rules would be:

Publicly register the effort  on aRocket with some reasonable description of the vehicle at least 30 days before the first attempt.

Announce the location and dates of the launch attempts, so we all get to share the anticipation and drama.

To win, you need a GPS serial log of the flight with at least one report above 100,000′.  You don’t need an unrestricted GPS, it is ok to lose data during the high speed portions of the flight.

The vehicle must be recovered essentially intact, within 24 hours of the launch.  I’m not going to quibble over a broken fin, but if the main recovery system didn’t work and it is smashed up, it doesn’t count.  Encouraging more effort here would be a major goal.

A report on the vehicle and operations suitable for publishing in a magazine must be made publicly available.  Something like Bill Claybaugh’s flight report at .  You still own the copyright on the report, and you would be free to actually have it published in a magazine if you want, it just needs to be available on the web for posterity.

Armadillo flights don’t count, but if Masten is willing to write up a sufficiently detailed public report, they can claim it.

John Carmack