In his quest to claim the $10,000 Carmack Prize, Derek Deville launched a rocket 121,000 feet into the air. The resulting footage is simply awesome.
"Carmack Prize?" I hear you asking. "Is that somehow related to id Software co-founder John Carmack?"
Why yes, how perceptive of you! Mr. Carmack has long been known for two things. First, for creating the finest in gaming graphics engines, and second, for launching phallic objects into Earth's atmosphere. The man loves rockets, is what I'm saying here.
Thus, Carmack created his titular prize, hoping that some amateur rocket fanatic might actually manage to break the 100,000 feet mark. The first person to do so will walk away with a cool 10 grand.
Hoping to take home the cash, Derek Deville built a nearly 14-foot long, 320 pound rocket and shot that em-effer toward the inky void with cameras rolling the whole time. The good news is that Deville's rocket (fittingly dubbed "Qu8k") managed to make it up to 121,000 feet. The bad news is that despite multiple GPS sensors, the would-be prize winner was unable to acquire an altitude lock beyond the 100,000 feet mark. As that's a requirement for the prize, Deville technically failed.
Presumably he'll be back to take another shot at Carmack's cash, hopefully with a rocket named "Cac0demon."
In the meantime, we've got 17 minutes of footage from the Qu8k launch, including set up, the launch itself and the thrilling flight.
Though, fair warning, those of you with weak stomachs might want to avoid the 7-minute freefall towards the latter part of the video. Dropping to terra firma from that kind of altitude is something man was never meant to experience, and our sensitive mammal guts have a tendency to respond poorly that sort of dizzying imagery.
You've been warned.