More Details on Armadillo’s FAA Launch License

Neil Milburn of Armadillo Aerospace answered questions from reporters after the announcement that the FAA has granted the Texas-based company a reusable launch license for the STIG-B rocket. Here is a summary:

  • FAA license for reusable STIG-B flights is for two years
  • First STIG-B flight set for Aug. 25 – 26
  • Two experiments on first flight — one from Germany on how particles behave, the other from Purdue University on injecting one liquid into another
  • STIG-B rocket is 20 inches in diameter and 34 feet long (STIG-A was 15 inches in diameter and 30 feet long)
  • STIG-B capable of launching payloads of 50 kg (110 pounds) to 100 kilometers suborbital altitude
  • Goal is to fly STIG-B rockets once per month (24 launches)
  • STIG-B is a testbed for technology to be used on suborbital human space vehicle
  • Philosophy is to fly tech as often as possible and to do it on cost-effective rockets
  • Human suborbital program depends upon the success of STIG-B
  • Human vehicle will have 8 rockets
  • STIG-A flew under a FAA waiver
  • Cannot fly STIG-B under waiver because they will be flying commercial payloads
  • Have spent a small fortune on Honeywell sensors to carefully measure the precise mico-gravity environment on flights