Results of EXOS Aerospace SARGE Launch at Spaceport America

SARGE launch at Spaceport America. (Screenshot from Exos Aerospace webcast)

Spaceport America, NM and Greenville, TX (EXOS Aerospace/Spaceport America PR)Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport and EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of reusable space launch vehicles based in Greenville, Texas, announce a successful test launch of their newest vehicle, SARGE.

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GPS Glitch Limited Altitude of Exos SARGE Rocket

SARGE launch at Spaceport America. (Screenshot from Exos Aerospace webcast)

Space News reports that Exos Aerospace’s SARGE launch from Spaceport America last month failed to reach its intended altitude due to a glitch in its GPS system.

In a mission report provided by the company a week and a half after the launch, Exos said that a GPS receiver on the rocket stopped providing data during the rocket’s ascent. That triggered an automatic shutdown of the rocket’s engine 38 seconds after liftoff, versus a planned duration of 62 to 65 seconds, said John Quinn, chief operating officer of Exos, Sept. 5.

As a result of the early engine shutdown, the rocket reached a peak altitude of 28 kilometers, rather than the planned 80 kilometers. Quinn said an extrapolation of the rocket’s performance during that powered phase indicated the rocket might have been able to reach nearly 90 kilometers had the engine fired for the full duration.

The cause of the GPS unit malfunction in the rocket is still being studied. The unit started providing data again later in the flight, and an inspection turned up no obvious damage to the unit, cabling or antennas. There were separate dropouts of telemetry from the rocket during the flight, according to the mission report.

Reusable Booster to Conduct Test Flight at Spaceport America

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NMSA PR) – EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc of Greenville, Texas, has selected Spaceport America for final testing of a reusable space launch vehicle known as SARGE (Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with GuidancE).

EXOS has completed the design, test and build; has received its FAA launch license and completed the final integration and test hovering for the rocket. A successful test flight is needed to solidify the company’s plans to use the technology as the basis for a planned reusable Orbital class vehicle, the company said in a press release issued Tuesday.

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EXOS Aerospace Plans Launch From Spaceport America for May

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM and CADDO Mills, Texas (EXOS Aerospace/NMSA PR) — Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport and EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of reusable space launch vehicles based in Caddo Mills, Texas, announce significant progress towards launch of their newest vehicle SARGE. The date and time target was selected in honor of Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr’s Suborbital Mercury Redstone 3 launch on May 5, 1961 @ 09:34AM.

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Updates From Blue Origin, Space Angels, Exos Aerospace & More

New Shepard booster fires its engine just over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference was held in Colorado earlier this week. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks tweeted the sessions:

Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News
Laura Seward Forczyk @LauraForczyk

Below are summaries of a number of talks based on their tweets.  The talks included Erika Wagner of Blue Origin, Dylan Taylor of Space Angels, John Quinn of Exos Aerospace, Tim Lachenmeier of Near Space Corporation, Lewis Groswald of the University of Colorado Boulder, and Alain Berinstain of Moon Express.

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NASA Space Act Agreements with Virgin Galactic, Moon Express, NanoRacks and More

NASA has released a document listing the 1,206 active Space Act Agreements  (SAAs) the agency has with commercial companies, non-profit organizations and state and local governments.

From that list, I’ve extracted agreements with individual companies. Below you will find tables listing SAAs that NASA has signed with Virgin Group companies, Moon Express and NanoRacks. There is also a fourth table that has SAAs with a number of companies and organizations that we follow on Parabolic Arc.

SAAs come in three varieties: reimburseable, non-reimburseable and funded. Under reimburseable agreements, a company or organization will pay NASA for its services. No money exchanges hands under non-reimburseable agrements. And under funded agreements, NASA pays the company to perform work or provide services. (The space agency made substantial use of SAA’s in the Commercial Crew Program.)

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NSS to Send Students Experiments to Space with EXOS Aerospace

Students from Andrew Goodin’s Building Creative Confidence class at Grand Center Arts Academy, along with the 3D-printed capsule and their experiments. (Credit: NSS)

WASHINGTON, DC, April 27, 2017 (NSS PR) — Enterprise In Space (EIS), a non-profit program of the National Space Society (NSS) will soon launch several experiments into space aboard a suborbital flight using reusable rocket technology.

As a demonstration of EIS’ NewSpace education program, the experiments draw from the different areas of the educational spectrum, middle school education and postgraduate research. In partnership with EIS’ higher education-focused Enterprise Centers for Excellence program, the Center for Applied Space Technology (CAST) has designed a biological microgravity experiment for postgraduate research into space medicine. Using a Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) 100, featuring nine petri dishes, CAST believes its experiment will have both terrestrial applications and uses during long-duration space flight.

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Anderson: Spaceport America Generated $104 Million*

Richard Branson and his children hang out with Project Bandaloop dancers during the dedication of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space facility. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
Richard Branson and his children hang out with Project Bandaloop dancers during the dedication of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space facility in October 2011. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Spaceport America CEO Christine Anderson has taken to New Mexico media to say that things are going great at the spaceport as she steps down this week.

“Spaceport America is alive and well,” she declared in an op-ed in the Las Cruces Sun-News. “It saddens me to read uninformed articles to the contrary.”

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A Summary of NSRC Day 1

Precise thrust vector control and deep throttling enable pinpoint booster landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)
Precise thrust vector control and deep throttling enable pinpoint booster landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The three-day Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference began today in Colorado. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I have compiled highlights of a very newsworthy day via Twitter posts. (You can follow along with hashtag #nsrc2016.)

Below is a summary of news and updates provided by Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, World View Enterprises, Exos Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Near Space Corporation, and NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

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Spaceport America, EXOS Aerospace Sign Partnership

Spaceport America EXOS LogoSPACEPORT AMERICA, N.M. and CADDO MILLS, Texas, April 5, 2016 (Spaceport America/EXOS PR) — Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of suborbital reusable space launch vehicles based in Caddo Mills, Texas, announce a five year launch partnership for their Suborbital Active Rocket with GuidancE (SARGE) vehicle.

EXOS has taken the experience gained from more than a decade of practical lessons learned, millions of dollars worth of development, and flight experience of former Armadillo Aerospace, LLC (including having the key players as co-founders of EXOS), and moved into the commercial space race, ahead of the game. In fact, this team became the first FAA-licensed launch operator from Spaceport America in 2012. EXOS plans to target research, pharmaceutical and medical markets, as well as the NASA Flight Opportunities program for suborbital technology demonstration payloads. The company expects to host their first NASA payload in late 2016.

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Parabolic Flights and Suborbital Launches

NASA LOGOEDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected eight space technology payloads for reduced gravity flights on board specialized aircraft and commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs). These flights provide a valuable platform to mature cutting-edge technologies, validating feasibility and reducing technical risks and costs before infusion into future space missions.

Five of the newly selected proposals requested parabolic flights, which involve a flight maneuver that uses a dramatic half-minute drop of the aircraft though the sky to simulate weightlessness. Two proposed projects will fly on sRLVs for testing during longer periods of weightlessness. An additional payload will fly on both platforms.

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Armadillo Vets Form New Space Company, Promise Awesome Stuff

exos_aerospace_logoVeterans of John Carmack’s hibernating Armadillo Aerospace have formed a new company dedicated to picking up with the game developer’s side project left off.

Exos Aerospace has an ambitious agenda to build four suborbital rockets within a year, and begin development of a human-rated rocket during that same time period. The goal is to provide customers “with affordable, repeatable, and reliable commercial spaceflight with accelerated turnaround,” according to the company’s website.

Exos’ leadership includes Armadillo veterans Russell Blink and Phil Eaton, who are both listed as co-founders.