Monday, September 28, 2009


It is very possible that there will be prizes determined by accuracy this year. I've spent the weekend working with the high precision RTK GPS and the helicopter.

If we can do the 180 seconds (big if) then I'm pretty comfortable beating the rumored 0.8m accuracy of Armadillo, beating the rumored 10cm accuracy of Masten is going to be a lot harder.

I still have a fair bit of work to do, but it looks promising. I'm not going to say much more about this as I don't want to give to much away. The chalange is in the vehicle dynamics, not the GPS.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic. Multifrequency RTK GPS stuff is sufficiently advanced. When you realize your making sub 1 cm scale measurements over a 20000km distance in real time at many Hz it is stunning. That is 0.00000005 percent. or 0.0005 ppm.


noel.wade said...

That -is- stunning, when you think about it!

Just a quick Q: after reviewing the data mentioned in your last update, can you tell us how satisfied you are with the thrust values the rocket developed?

Am keeping my fingers crossed for ya!

ian said...


It was officially 19.7cm and I agree, it won't come down to GPS but to dynamics.

I used to work on GPS internals in my previous life and it's one of the most spectacular technologies I've ever come across. It's impressive that such a large system works at all, let alone working well.

kert said...

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.


Randall Clague said...

The 10 cm was an eyeball estimate immediately after landing. The X Prize judges surveyed it and determined it was 19.7 cm.