An Incremental Approach to Small Launch Vehicle Technology Development
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The implementation of small satellite architectures and satellite micro-miniaturization technologies has been inhibited due to the lack of responsive, cost-effective, user-friendly Spacelift solutions that specifically address this market. Newtechnologies, including some of those being developed for small satellites, and modern business practices now make it possible to develop a commercially-viable Small Launch Vehicle (SLV). A key technical step is introduction and validation of these newtechnologies and services, many of which are intended to achieve cost reduction as opposed to vehicle performance enhancements.On the business side, an incremental approach based on a series of sustainable market niches is critical to overcoming the large up-front R&D investment that is characteristic of traditional launch vehicle development programs. The proposed Phase I studywill refine a previously-defined path for developing a prototype suborbital test vehicle that takes advantage of an on-going SLV project that has already achieved several important milestones in this area. The ability to conduct frequent flight tests,with short, responsive lead times and for very low cost, is already attracting members of the small satellite and SLV communities who seek to get their hardware out of the lab and into flight. The same technology risk mitigation capability can play animportant role in providing near-term opportunities for evaluating promising launch vehicle technologies identified during the Phase I study. Upon validation, such technologies would enable even further improvements in responsiveness, cost and vehicleperformance. One specific project objective is an enhanced suborbital vehicle that can routinely reach altitudes exceeding 100 km. This system, which would be at least partially reusable, would represent a magnitude increase in performance over theexisting vehicle design that is now serving the domestic academic market. A fundamental goal is to achieve such improvements while retaining existing costs and operational practices.
Small Business Information at Submission:
GARVEY SPACECRAFT CORP.
15641 Product Lane, Unit A5 Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Number of Employees: