ISDC 2010: John Carmack and Eric Anderson

Here are my brief notes from another talk at the 2010 ISDC. In this case, it's not really about prizes; it's about a prize competitor's exciting times after a prize competition. All the usual caveats about my considerably less than perfect note taking apply.

John and Eric gave more details about the recently announced suborbital RLV partnership between Space Adventures and Armadillo Aerospace. John noted that there have been many press releases in the space community, and in many cases, not much happened after that. As a result, he has a rule: don't get up in front of an audience without a check cut. Well, Space Adventures has cut a check for Armadillo Aerospace to develop suborbital spaceships.

John has known Eric since the Tito flight. John doesn't want to go from NASA or Air Force contract to contract. He will continue with contracts, but will focus more on spaceships.

Armadillo is pushing ahead on multiple vehicle configurations. They will probably build more than 2 configurations per year, which is about what they've been doing up to this point. John expects 100 or more flights for science. (I suspect that it was clear at the time, but my notes don't mention what timeframe that's under - before passenger rides start? Per year?) They are looking ahead to test pilot class flights as well.

John is willing to kick in some funding, too. He wants development to go faster. Armadillo is at a special point where they are getting all the ducks lined up in a row - FAA, insurance, spaceports, etc.

Eric mentioned that they are looking into approaches like raffles or sweepstakes where everyone has a shot to get a ticket even if most people can't afford to buy a ticket. They haven't selected a specific approach, so he's not giving details - the ones I mentioned are just to give an idea.

During the Question and Answer session, John noted that Armadillo is staffing up. He expects to be able to keep information updates happening more frequently. This has been difficult to do because they have been so busy.

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