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Black Armadillo

Black Armadillo
[Armadillo Aerospace]

Black Armadillo 48'' Test
[Armadillo Aerospace]

Black Armadillo is Armadillo Aerospace's entry to win the X-Prize.

As testing on vehicle systems progresses, the design of the Black Armadillo - a completly recoverable and reusable suborbital rocket - is gradually maturing. The current design is a single stage vehicle with nontraditional operating features. The Black Armadillo's propulsion system consists of four pressure fed, hydrogen peroxide, monopropellant system rocket engines fed from a single tank. The propellant tank has a capacity for 1,600 gallons (6,055 liters) of hydrogen peroxide. The exhaust of a hydrogen peroxide propulsion system is environment-friendly (superheated steam and gaseous oxygen). After reaching apogee, the passengers continue to experience micro-gravity conditions as the vehicle begins its ballistic descent back to Earth. Once the density of the atmosphere starts to increase, the aerodynamic drag on the vehicle begins to increase and the passengers begin feeling G-forces again. After it has descended to an altitude where the air density is great enough, a small drogue chute will be deployed from the base of the vehicle to insure proper reentry, which will briefly deliver an estimated five Gs of deceleration. At approximately nine minutes into the flight and when the vehicle descends through an altitude of 1.9 miles (3 km), the main chute will be deployed. Sufficient time is given to deploy a backup chute if necessary. Approximately six minutes later, the vehicle will make contact with the ground at approximately 25 feet per second. The crushable, aluminum nose cone neatly and systematically collapses into itself, decelerating the vehicle to a stop. The capsule then falls on its side to end the mission.

Version Stage 1
Black Armadillo H2O2 / Methanol mixed Monoprop pressure fed engines
No.TypNo Type                          Date          LS         Payload 

 1       Black Armadillo 48''          07.08.2004    ?    * F   Black Armadillo F1

planned launches

Launch sites:



Flight 1: vehicle ran out of fuel

Source: X-Price Website