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Sat, Feb 04, 2012

Armadillo Aerospace Launches Third 'STIG-A' Rocket From Spaceport America

Flight Was Successful, But Main 'Ballute' Did Not Deploy As Intended

A STIG-A rocket was launched over the weekend by Armadillo Aerospace from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority's Spaceport America. The launch took place from Spaceport America's vertical launch complex on Saturday, January 28, 2012. The research and development test flight was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Armadillo Aerospace, as the company is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies.

Photo From Rocket Apogee

Saturday’s Armadillo launch successfully lifted off at approximately 1115 (MDT), which was within the dedicated, five-hour launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 82-km (~50 miles). A failure of the ballute (balloonparachute) recovery system meant that the GPS steerable main parachute could not be deployed as intended, however the vehicle was successfully recovered within the predicted operating area and the nose cone and ballute were separately recovered intact on the Spaceport property.

“This vehicle was the same one that flew on December 4th, 2011 and successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a reusable rocket,” said Neil Milburn, VP of Program Management for Armadillo Aerospace. “The altitude achieved in this second flight was approximately twice that of the earlier flight and again tested many of the core technologies needed for the proposed manned reusable suborbital vehicle.”

The images captured by the rocket-mounted camera at apogee also serve to indicate the spectacular views of the Rio Grande valley that await future private astronauts.

The next incremental step for Armadillo Aerospace will be a 100-km (~62 miles) plus "space shot" with the successor vehicle STIG-B, which is provisionally scheduled to launch in early spring from Spaceport America. (Photo provided by Armadillo Aerospace)



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