is a small research and development team
working to get into space
. Their first goal is to win the X-Prize
, a race to get to space without government
funding, and then go from there. They are basing their effort
s on computer
led hydrogen peroxide rocket
They are currently completely self funded, mostly since their fearless leader is John Carmack, the lead programmer at id software, who happens to have quite a bit of money. Still, they have little money to waste. Their development process now consists of lots of small inexpensive tests to gain knowledge, which they will use on a large scale when they make their X-Prize entry.
They have, at the time of this writing, made a small rocket chair which has held a test pilot aloft for about five seconds, made a tube-shaped rocket that didn't fare well in the test flight (they weren't expecting it to do very well, just to provide some good data), and produced a full scale mockup of their X-Prize entry.
They are proceeding along nicely, doing work on parts of their eventual X-Prize vehicle. They are apparently planning to use a collapsible nose cone in landing to reduce the maximum deceleration to around 10G for under half a second, and the pilot has already taken more G's than that in drop tests. My favorite picture of that sort of thing is here:
The team is named after their mascot, an armadillo names Widget. The web site is at:
The web site contains detailed news and pictures, although the news can get rather technical.