From the Big Bummer Archive: The demise of Armadillo Aerospace, one of the intrepid bunch of recent would-be rocketeers.
Space is Hard – After 13 years, John Carmack’s Armadillo Aerospace calls it quits. The space startup has laid off all full-time staff, and John himself has stated he does not intend to invest any more of his own money. Started in 2000, the company was aimed at developing suborbital space tourism capabilities, but now it looks like it won’t make it.
One day after speaking at the QuakeCon in Dallas, John Carmack—the famed video game designer and space entrepreneur—confirmed to Ars that he’s “winding down” his company, Armadillo Aerospace. The private space company began in 2000, and eventually began doing contract work for NASA, but it turned to developing reusable rockets in recent years. “I laid off most of the full-time employees,” Carmack told Ars on Friday.
“[We have a few doing some] minor part-time hours, and there’s one guy still on there. We still have the building, and I own materials there, and I don’t have the funding to continue development.” He said that he’d spent over $1 million a year of his own money to fund the company, which will now be cut significantly. “I’m spending [somewhere] in the couple hundred thousand [dollar range], we still have to pay accountants, lawyers, and pay for insurance. We’re talking to people and we hope that some money shows up, but if not we’ll wind down even further.”
I do hope that the Armadillo will come back from hibernation at some point in the future, but if nothing else this does illustrate the point that it is rocket science after all.