Tue, Oct 09, 2012
Low-Profile Test Took Place At Spaceport America In New Mexico
New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced Saturday that Armadillo Aerospace had launched a STIG-B rocket designed and built by the Rockwall, TX, company. This launch was the first licensed FAA launch to take place from Spaceport America's vertical launch complex at the spaceport, and the second research and development test flight this year at Spaceport America conducted by Armadillo Aerospace.
The successful launch was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Armadillo Aerospace, as the company is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies. Armadillo Aerospace is a leading developer of reusable rocket-powered vehicles and plans to provide a platform for civilian access to suborbital space.
Saturday's flight was the spaceport’s first FAA-licensed launch, the 6th Armadillo Aerospace vehicle, and the 16th vertical launch from Spaceport America since 2006.
The blog Parabolic Arc reports that, according to Tweets from Armadillo founder John Carmack, the launch had to be aborted, and it was not known if the vehicle reached it's planned 100 kilometer altitude. "Armadillo flight at Spaceport America hit an abort limit, but the recovery system functioned properly, so the vehicle is safe," he posted on Twitter, adding "Need to analyze data and fix a couple things, will fly again in a couple weeks."
Space News reported in July that the FAA had granted a license to Armadillo for the STIG-B (Suborbital Transport with Inertial Guidance) rocket. They were scheduled to fly in August with payloads from Purdue University and Germany's Vega Space.
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