Rocket Racer

Rocket Racer

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READY FOR THE RACES

READY FOR THE RACES
The only manned craft to fly at the X Prize Cup was XCOR’s EZ Rocket, a modified Long-EZ airplane powered by twin liquid-oxygenâ€and-alcoholâ€burning rocket engines and flown by former space shuttle commander Rick Searfoss. The EZ Rocket is the prototype for a quartet of planned Rocket Racers that are to fly at next year’s X Prize Cup.

PROBLEMATIC TEST FLIGHT

Armadillo’s 10-foot-tall technology demonstrator took off, hovered, and then descended gently under power, just like its planned suborbital big brother. After the first of its three planned flights at the X Prize Cup, though, the rocket touched down with only one of its four legs on its steel-plate landing pad. The other legs sank into the mud beside the pad, and the rocket tipped over and crashed to its side. It was damaged too badly to fly again.

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VON BRAUN WOULD BE PROUD

Members of the Tripoli amateur rocketry association polish a one-third-scale model rocket of the World War IIâ€era German V2 rocket. Tripoli’s planned launches at the X Prize Cup were scrubbed because of high winds. The group was demonstrating its technology but is not planning a larger model for human flight.

CANADIAN MOCK-UP

Shown here, a full-scale model of the V2-derived manned suborbital rocket under construction by Canadian Arrow. Like Armadillo, the Canadians left their actual flight hardware at home.