Armadillo Aerospace
The artist's conception of the so-called "Quad" layout vehicle, which Armadillo entered in the X Prize Cup 2006.

John Carmack Has Space Balls

In February 2007, Time magazine ranked id Software's John Carmack high on its list of space cowboys with a legit shot at getting into space, which, as I've always understood it, is the final frontier. A year and a half later, Forbes puts Carmack and his Armadillo Aerospace team, which is working out of Rockwall, at the very front of the pack, especially as they spend a fraction of a fraction of what their competitors, among them Amazon's Jeff Bezos, are doling out to reach the thin air.

Carmack has spent only $3.5 million on his Armadillo Aerospace, but he's had more launches than Bezos and Musk combined. He's attacking rocketry the way he would assemble software: design, build, test and repeat in rapid-fire succession to quickly determine what works and what doesn't.

They're also selling boxer shorts, for those who like a rocket in their pants. --Robert Wilonsky

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