Among amateur rocket-launching circles, there’s a bounty called “The Carmack Prize“. It’s named for id boss, Doom co-creator and budding rocket scientist John Carmack, and will reward anyone who can get a home-made rocket 100,000 feet into space and capture some GPS data from it.
The first people to claim the prize will pick up $US10,000 from Carmack. Nobody has managed the feat yet, but late last month a team got awful close.
On September 30, Derek Deville made a rocket, named it Qu8k (pronounced “Quake”, and using the classic id shooter’s logo), stuck a camera and some GPS gear to it and shot it off a launch pad in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
Sadly, he wasn’t able to get a GPS reading from the rocket, but as you’ll see from the footage above, it looks like he at least got the 100,000 feet part under his belt. While the beginning of the clip focuses on Qu8k’s launch, eventually you’ll get to some amazing scenes from a camera attached to the rocket’s casing, which shows…well, what the Earth looks like to a home-made rocket that’s just been shot 121,000 feet into space.
If you’re wondering why Carmack has his name attached to the prize, he’s a budding rocketeer himself, with one of the leading entries in a NASA competition to build a home-made lunar lander.