The Challenge of the Challenges / Lunar Lander Challenge 2007
From Paul Breed (Lunar Lander Challenge 2006 interested party) to John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace team leader
Hows the permit going? Is AST going to issue a permit for XPC?
What sort of extra hoops are they asking for?
My wild guess is that your probably stuck in a beaurcratic catch 22, they won’t let you fly un tethered in OK because no environmental paperwork, they won’t let you fly at XPC because they won’t let you expand the flight envelope in front of a crowd.
I’m starting to budget for an LLC attempt for 2007, should I budget for a Lawyer to get the permit stuff un stuck?
Feel free to answer on list if you want to.
Reply from John Carmack on aRocket alternative rocketry discussion list:
It is not yet 100% sure that we will have the permit.
Neil can be more complete, but no, the environmental is not the sticking point. They are just asking for a lot of test data, some of which we can’t conveniently provide, and is stupid anyway. Example: “Provide graphs of signal strength to distance for the thrust termination system”. Response: “It worked in every test, even past the required range limits, in bad reception conditions, so why the heck do you need to know the signal strength?”
I do grumble a bit about the entire mindset — they would rather permit a vehicle that has never left the ground, but has a stack of procedures written for it, than a vehicle with 30 flight tests. Many of the people involved are genuinely enthusiastic, and want to be helpful, but it is still a federal bureaucracy.
Count on at least four solid man months of labor to make nice with AST, spread over maybe a year of your work. In the larger scheme of things, that really isn’t all that bad, but it is sure frustrating when you would rather be doing something productive…