Suborbital Spotlight: Armadillo’s Super Mod, Tube and SOST Vehicles

Armadillo Aerospace's Super Mod vehicle. (Credit: Armadillo Aerospace)

NASA’s Office of Chief Technologist has published detailed information about suborbital vehicles that will be available beginning in 2011 for researchers to conduct microgravity experiments. The vehicles are being built by Armadillo Aerospace,  Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic and XCOR.

Today we will look at platforms being offered by Armadillo Aerospace. The Texas company expects to make the first flight under the NASA funded Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program in January, begin commercial cargo operations in 2011, and start human spaceflight by the end of 2012.

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Video: Armadillo “Super Mod” Test Flight

Armadillo Aerospace conducted a “Super Mod” tethered flight on Saturday in Texas. The perturbations were part of the test, according to the description posted with this YouTube video:

Includes induced perturbations to test recovery from aerodynamic impulses, and the telescopic legs extending at the end. We were ready to free-flight after this test, but a two-hour FAA hold would have put us too late in the day.