Leonard David has a good article up on Space.com about us and Armadillo Aerospace. Now that we have a full year to get our vehicles up and running, and as much flight experience as we can, I think that people will take us a lot more seriously as a competitor. John mentions that we have to build another vehicle after XA-0.1 to compete, and while right, the next vehicle will pretty much be using the exact same engines, computers, valves, regulators, and landing gear as XA-0.1 (unless we find some issues that require big changes). Most of the parts that will be upgraded are either purchase parts (carbon fiber pressurant tanks), or structural pieces like tanks and frames. Most of the really tough parts (the electromechanical systems, and engine systems) will be wrapped up this year.
Armadillo is pretty close to having a level one capable vehicle, but I hope John doesn’t plan on getting too complacent. They not only have to make the minimal qualifications this time, they need to win in the flyoffs. And that requires a vehicle that is a lot more robust and reliable than their entries for this year. I’m sure John and his team know that though, and we’ll be in for a tough competition this year.
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