A private spaceflight company, Armadillo Aerospace, is reviewing its test data from a rocket test in the New Mexico desert. The flight encountered problems while testing a new launch and balloon parachute technologies, but the company remains one of the leading private entities in the alt.space industry.
The Texas-based company, which was founded by computer game developer John Carmack, launched their rocket The Heath to an altitude of 50 miles on January 28th from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
They tested a supersonic balloon parachute, known as a ballute, which deployed but failed to operate as planned. The rocket then fell to Earth making a hard landing. However, Armadillo Aerospace feels that the STIG A-3 rocket launch accomplished its primary mission that entailed to determine the booster’s maximum performance after several modifications had been made since an earlier flight in December.
The rocket body, nose cone, and ballute were recovered on February 1st. This was the third test launch of Armadillo’s STIG A reusable suborbital rocket design. The altitude achieved for this flight was twice that of the earlier flight. Based upon these results, Armadillo is building the successor vehicle, the STIG B, which will be space capable.
The STIG B will be launched in early spring up to an altitude of 62 miles.