Rocket Racing Competition

Alan Boyle has more info on this morning’s press announcement from the Rocket Racing League. It looks like they haven’t necessarily dropped XCOR as a supplier (as I previously speculated–note that there is a comment in that post, ostensibly from someone from the RRL, saying it was good news for everyone), but are looking for more competition for propulsion, so now they’ll have a kerosene engine from XCOR and an alcohol engine from Armadillo. If they can spread the wealth and expand the industrial base for these technologies, that’s all to the good.

And this should gladden the hearts of LLC competitors:

Carmack recently said he would make rocket engines available to customers at a cost of $500,000 apiece. He declined to say exactly how much the racing league was paying Armadillo for the current project – but he said the project had a higher priority than Armadillo’s renewed push to win the NASA-funded Lunar Lander Challenge.

That could conceivably mean that they won’t even bother, and will leave the money on the table for someone else, but even if they compete this year, their chances of winning will be reduced if they’re not focused on it, so it could represent an opportunity for Masten, Unreasonable Rocket, and others.

Anyway, I’m glad to see this industry finally (literally) getting off the ground. I wrote a paper at STAIF ten years ago that we needed a racing industry to push the technology, just as occurred in the auto (and air) racing business. A lot of people at the session in which I presented it were skeptical at the time, but it looks like my vision is finally coming to fruition.

[Mid-morning update]

Here’s another pre-press-conference report from the New York Times.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Clark Lindsey live blogged the press conference via call-in. I don’t see any mention of XCOR.

3 thoughts on “Rocket Racing Competition”

  1. As a fan of car racing, I think having multiple power plant packages is very good for the competition. For the industry, this is very good news indeed.

    When the sport was first announced, I didn’t think it would ever work out. The Reno Air Races had a very niche market with almost non-existant outside interest. I thought rocket racing would get coverage for a few races, and then completely die off. With the Red Bull racing events, I think there is renewed interest.

  2. And the variance between the systems is much greater than in any auto racing venue. Armadillo’s pressure fed, film cooled, LOX/ethanol vs. XCOR’s reciprocating pump/pressure, regeneratively cooled, LOX/kerosene.

    A drag race between the two would be awesome.

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