Armadillo Aerospace (John Carmack) has been working on STIG-A, a reusable liquid fueled 15 inch diameter tube rocket with parachute recovery. STIG-A was launched December 4th 2011 from Spaceport America in New Mexico. This rocket provides higher velocity and altitude from their SuperMod rocket platform. Reaching an altitude of 42 km, this set a new altitude record for any liquid fueled rocket launched under the FAA class 3 amateur rules, and of course it was an altitude record for Armadillo as well.
At 42 km altitude, the atmospheric pressure is less than 0.2% of sea level. Outside more than 99% of the atmosphere, the stunning video shows the black skies of space.
Working from Armadillo's small production facility, using tools that might be found in a garage, Carmack has funded almost all of the development for Aramdillo out of his personal funds. He narrowly missed winning the LLC Level 1 Challenge, mainly because of a controvertial ruling
that allowed Masten Aerospace a extra day to complete their launch attempt, beating Armadillo by less than 50 cm.
Armadillo is also building alcohol rocket motors for the Rocket Racing League
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