Garvey Space Gets NASA Contract for Nanosat Launches

Prospector 18 suborbital reusable launch vehicle. (Credit: Garvey Spacecraft)

GSC PR — Garvey Spacecraft Corporation (GSC) has been awarded a contract from the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) at Kennedy Space Center, FL to provide a high altitude launch service for demonstration NanoSatellites. This contract consists of a single launch with potential extension at the Government’s discretion to up to four additional launches.

NASA LSP plans to evolve this capability to provide low-cost, frequent near-term flight opportunities for universities and other academic institutions who are pioneering the development of CubeSat and NanoSat-class payloads. It is anticipated that the results and experiences from these entry-level flight projects will complement and contribute to subsequent orbital missions that LSP is also responsible for under its Educational Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) program.

To satisfy NASA’s requirement that the launch vehicle have at minimum one successful previous launch, GSC and its partner California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) are providing the Prospector 18 suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV) that has already undertaken three flights since March of this year. The P-18 is the latest in a series of test vehicles that are establishing the foundation for an operational nanosat launch vehicle (NLV) capability.

“This LSP launch service leverages our team’s ongoing efforts to develop an operational nanosat launch vehicle that is dedicated to this emerging market,” remarked GSC’s CEO John Garvey. “Like the payload providers, we expect to learn a great deal and intend to apply these insights to an NLV that can take such spacecraft all the way to orbit.”

As part of the educational outreach element of this program, CSULB students will play a lead role in adapting the P-18’s current payload accommodations to manifest up to four fixed CubeSats and as well as a P-POD deployer unit that can eject up to three additional CubeSats during flight. CSULB professor Eric
Besnard observed that “this is another great opportunity for CSULB students to get hands-on experience in working with small payload developers, integrate their experiments into the rocket and participate in launch operations.”

The first P-18 flight under this initiative is planned to occur as soon as payloads become available, currently anticipated to be around mid-2012. The GSC/CSULB team will integrate these payloads into the rocket at CSULB’s Aerospace Systems Integration Lab in Long Beach. Flight testing will take place at a private test site owned and operated by the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) that is located outside of Mojave, CA.

Garvey Spacecraft Corporation is a small aerospace R&D company located in Long Beach, California. It is focused on the cost-effective development of advanced space technologies and launch vehicle systems. GSC is working closely with California State University, Long Beach on the development of a Nanosat Launch Vehicle (NLV) that is optimized to provide dedicated launch services for CubeSat and NanoSat-class spacecraft and payloads.