UP Aerospace Launch Tests New Technologies

UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft rocket. (Credits: NASA)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — On Nov. 22 UP Aerospace launched its SpaceLoft rocket on a flight funded by the company’s NASA Tipping Point award. The Affordable Vehicle Avionics (AVA) project from NASA’s Ames Research Center was one of several payloads onboard.

The AVA technology flew on two previous SpaceLoft flights supported by Flight Opportunities, with the goals of testing the technology in a relevant environment and leveraging the knowledge gained from the flights to aid development.

The most recent flight was the first to test the flight computer’s ability to provide the “brains” for UP Aerospace’s own guidance and control system in a fully integrated demonstration that included firing a second-stage motor.

Ultimately, the small company plans to integrate its guidance and control system with technology like AVA on Spyder Orbital—a four-stage solid motor rocket that UP Aerospace is developing specifically for dedicated small payload launches. 

The launch also included Flight Opportunities–supported tests for three other technologies. They included an autonomous flight termination system from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a micro-avionics system from Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and a ADS-B transmitter prototype from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Development teams for each experiment aim to gather data that will help them advance their technologies, working toward eventual inclusion on NASA missions or commercial space vehicles, including dedicated small payload launchers.