Their goal is to make a re-usable rocket that can travel to and return from space multiple times. Current rockets that go to space are destroyed in the process, which is one of the factors that keeps space travel prohibitively expensive.


The Armadillo rockets are supposed to propel themselves straight up and then lower themselves, stabilized by the computer, back to where they started. Carmack showed video of some of his team's rockets tests during his talk, describing some of the challenges his team faced as they made rockets that reached higher and might benefit from a parachute.

He showed a couple of videos of the test flights of these parachute-enabled rockets. This is one of them, one that shows that the parachute concept isn't so great:


The video at the top of this post shows the newest rocket design from Armadillo. This one is supposed to reach even higher, though not quite into space yet. Carmack hopes to fire it up this month. For now, though, it sits on the exhibition floor of QuakeCon 2010.