id Software legend John Carmack doesn't just work technical wonders and make great games. He also spends a lot of time (and money) on Armadillo Aerospace, an amateur outfit that is trying to make a space rocket that, instead of flying into space never to be seen again, can be re-used.
Last month, Armadillo's latest rocket, the STIG B-III, blasted off from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, near the site Virgin Galactic hopes to build the world's first commercial starport.
Building on the team's experiences with past rockets, STIG B-III, as you can see, started off pretty well, before a tiny and random fault—due to a small metal ring—sent things spiralling off on a one-way-ticket to a hard landing and impressive fireball.
Not that this is something to dwell on. Rockets explode in space exploration all the time, even those built by national governments with billion-dollar space programs. The cool thing here is the progress being made by a small but enthusiastic team, who are displaying a passion for the next frontier at a time when the US government is displaying anything but.
You can check out the full mission report, if you're interested, below.
STIG B-III mission, January 5, 2013 [Armadillo Aerospace]