mcgrew (sm62704) writes: "New Scientist is reporting that John Carmak's "Armadillo Aerospace" has suffered a large setback in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge after one of its two main rockets crashed and burned.
No one was hurt in the crash, but the vehicle was destroyed."During the test, Texel lifted off and hovered without incident, then descended again and touched the ground. But it then rose again unexpectedly and began accelerating upward. "Crap, it's going to fly into the crane, I need to kill it," Carmack recalls thinking.
He hit the manual shutdown switch, turning off the vehicle's engine in mid-flight. Texel was about 6 metres above the ground and fell like a stone. One of its fuel tanks broke open when it hit the ground, spewing fuel that ignited and engulfed the vehicle in flames. "It made a fireball that would make any Hollywood movie proud," Carmack says.