U.S. Air Force Designates GOLauncherOne Hypersonic Flight Research Vehicle as X-60A

GOLauncherOne hypersonic vehixcle. (Credit: Generation Orbit)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (USAF PR) – The Air Force has designated the GOLauncher1 (GO1) hypersonic flight research vehicle as X-60A.  The vehicle is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division.

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Video of Generation Orbit Engine Hot Fire

Video Caption: Hot fire testing of the GO1 Engineering Development Unit at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, FL completed on Wednesday 20 June 2018. GO1 to be an affordable and flexible hypersonic testbed to flight test a wide range of hypersonic vehicle technologies.

Building up a series of cold flows and engine development tests, this hot fire test demonstrated integration of the engine with flight like propellant tanks, valves, pressurization system, and flight controls. Further, the test demonstrated the throttling capabilities of the system necessary to meet the thrust levels for Mach 6 cruise at 80,000 to 90,000 ft. This feature is a key enabler of GO1’s next-generation hypersonic flight testing capabilities for fundamental research and technology maturation. This is GO’s first test campaign to include Ursa Major Technologies’ “Hadley” liquid rocket engine. The 5,000 lbf-class oxygen-rich staged combustion engine performed as expected through the tests.

GO1 is a single-stage liquid rocket, launched from a Gulfstream III carrier aircraft, primarily designed for hypersonic flight testing. The rocket vehicle propulsion system utilizes liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to provide affordable and regular access to high dynamic pressure flight conditions between Mach 5 and Mach 8 to a wide range of payloads for fundamental research, technology development, and risk reduction. The first flight of GO1 is planned for late 2019.

Generation Orbit Completes Hot Fire Test of GO1 Hypersonic Testbed Prototype at Cecil Spaceport


ATLANTA (GO PR)  — Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) has completed an initial integrated engine firing of a full-scale, functional prototype of the GOLauncher1 (GO1) hypersonic flight test booster. Under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division (AFRL/RQH), GO is developing GO1 to be an affordable and flexible hypersonic testbed to flight test a wide range of hypersonic vehicle technologies.

The test was the first of its kind to be conducted at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, FL. This is also GO’s first test campaign to include Ursa Major Technologies’ “Hadley” liquid rocket engine. The 5,000 lbf-class oxygen-rich staged combustion engine performed as expected through the tests.

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Generation Orbit & NASA Complete GO1-ITA Captive Carry Flight Test Program

C-20a with the GO1-ITA mounted beneath it. (Credit: Generation Orbit)

ATLANTA, January 8, 2018 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) has completed the GO1 Inert Test Article captive carry flight test program. Under a public-private partnership with NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, GO developed the GO1-ITA, a mass properties and outer mold line simulator for the GO1 hypersonic flight testbed and earned NASA airworthiness approval for flight on NASA’s C-20a.
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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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Generation Orbit Awarded Contract for GO1 Flight Testing

Credit: Generation Orbit

ATLANTA, April 7, 2017 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the award of a Follow-On Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division (AFRL/RQH) for development and flight testing of the GOLauncher 1 (GO1).

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Generation Orbit Names A.J. Piplica as CEO

Anthony J. Piplica (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Anthony J. Piplica (Credit: Generation Orbit)

ATLANTA, December 13, 2016 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) today announced that Mr. Anthony J. Piplica will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective January 1, 2017.

Mr. Piplica has served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) since 2013. Mr. Piplica joined the Generation Orbit team in 2012, quickly rising to the position of COO. Within that capacity, he has been instrumental in managing the company’s growth and technical activities. Piplica has served as GO’s primary interface for its network of partners and suppliers, as well as key Air Force, NASA, and commercial customers.

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Generation Orbit Gets USAF Funding for Wind Tunnel, Hot Fire Tests

Credit: Generation Orbit
Credit: Generation Orbit

ATLANTA, October 27, 2016 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the award of a SBIR Phase II Extension from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division (AFRL/RQHV) to enable wind tunnel and integrated hot fire testing of the GO1 hypersonic testbed.

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Generation Orbit Completes GOLauncher 1 Preliminary Design Review

GO1 (Credit: GO)
GO1 (Credit: GO)

ATLANTA, June 22, 2016 (GO PR)Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the successful completion of Preliminary Design Review for the GO1 hypersonic and suborbital testbed. The milestone marks the completion of two design cycles for the system over the course of six months, as well as the transition to detailed design and prototyping activities. These activities include a full-scale engineering development unit for integration, ground testing and validation, along with an inert test article for aircraft integration and flight testing.

“We’re very happy with where our metrics for the vehicle stand as we press forward with design, hardware procurement, software development, and integration” commented A.J. Piplica, Chief Operating Officer at GO. “Progress on the engineering development unit and inert test article in the coming months will allow us to evaluate GO1 against our customers’ needs and demonstrate the functionality of the integrated vehicle.”

Development of GO1 remains on schedule to provide a unique flight test capability to the hypersonic and suborbital research communities. The system will enable long-duration, affordable access to high Mach number, endoatmospheric flight conditions necessary for maturing technologies, components, and subsystems relevant to high speed system architectures for both government and commercial applications.

About Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc.

Atlanta-based Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) focuses on providing fast, flexible, and dedicated space transportation services for small payloads. The unique air launch approach developed by GO and its partners offers flexible launch capabilities, poised to reduce fixed infrastructure needs, launch costs, and the time from contract signature to launch. Air launch system experience at GO dates back over 10 years, providing a distinct advantage throughout the design and analysis process. As a systems integrator, GO compiles multiple aspects of the launch architecture to provide a streamlined service to scientists, researchers, and industry customers alike.

For more information, visit GO on the web at www.generationorbit.com and follow GO on Twitter @generationorbit.

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Generation Orbit Signs Space Act Agreement With NASA Armstrong

Flight Experiments Testbed (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Flight Experiments Testbed (Credit: Generation Orbit)

ATLANTA — Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the signing of a Space Act Agreement with NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) to collaboratively pursue the flight test and envelope clearance for the GOLauncher 1 air launched rocket vehicle.

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Generation Orbit Signs Space Act Agreement With NASA Langley

generation_orbit_logoATLANTA, April 12, 2016 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the signing of a Space Act Agreement with NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) to collaboratively pursue the design, manufacture and test of a novel composite cryogenic tank as an evolutionary path for its GOLauncher family of air launch rocket vehicles.

Utilizing LaRC’s Integrated Structural Assembly of Composites (ISAAC) automated manufacturing capability, the two year program will quantify the performance, cost, and schedule impact of tow-steering load path control and automated fiber placement for the design and manufacturing of cryogenic propellant tanks. GO’s air launch systems present a unique application of Langley’s capabilities to develop a composite liquid oxygen tank capable of efficiently distributing aircraft integration loads.

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SpaceWorks Awarded Georgia Small Business of the Year Award

spaceworks_logoATLANTA, February 9, 2016 (SpaceWorks PR) – SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. was honored yesterday by the Georgia Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) as 2015’s Georgia Small Business of the Year. Dr. John Olds, CEO of SpaceWorks, accepted the award on behalf of SpaceWorks and its family of companies, including Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO), Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC (TVA), and Blink Astro, LLC (Blink).

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Generation Orbit Completes Third Flight Test

ATLANTA, December 8, 2015 (GO PR) — Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) completed a third successful test flight of its GO Flight Experiments Testbed (GO-FET) today in Cartersville, GA. The GO-FET provides a captive carry flight-test platform for maturing new small spacecraft and nanolauncher technologies including avionics, GN&C, thermal, ground and space communication, loads & vibrations, and exposure to high altitude atmospheric conditions. Researchers and developers use the testbed to raise the technology readiness level of their hardware prior to actual spaceflight.

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Generation Orbit Makes 2 New Hires

Skyler Shuford (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Skyler Shuford (Credit: Generation Orbit)

ATLANTA (GO PR) — Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the additions of Mr. Skyler Shuford to its staff as the Lead Guidance, Navigation, and Control Engineer and E. Glenn Case IV as a Senior Engineer.

Skyler Shuford
Lead Guidance, Navigation, and Control Engineer

Mr. Shuford will drive design, simulation, and testing of the guidance, navigation, and control system for the GOLauncher family of vehicles. He will also be responsible for the definition, design, development, and verification of flight and ground support software.

Previously, Mr. Shuford was Deputy Lead of Guidance, Navigation, and Control for Lunar Lion, a team competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize during his graduate studies at Penn State. He led control algorithm development while building, programming, and testing a quadcopter to serve as a controller testbed.

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