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ABL Finalizing Plans for Maiden Launch of RS1 Booster

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 19, 2022
RS1 rocket on the launch pad on Kodiak Island. (Credit: PLD Space)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

ABL Space has completed a wet dress rehearsal for the maiden flight of its RS-1 rocket and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to finalize a window for the launch of the booster from the Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska (PSC-A), the company tweeted last week.

RS1 is a 26.8 m (88 ft) tall booster powered by nine first-stage E2 engines and one second-stage E2 engine. The engines use RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen.

RS1 Payload Capacity

Low200 km (124 miles)1,350 kg (2,976 lb)
Sun Synchronous500 km (311 miles)970 kg (2,138 lb)
Medium Transfer8,000 km (4,971 miles)700 kg (1543 lb)
Geostationary Transfer37,000 km (22,991 miles)320 kg (705 lb)
Source: ABL Space

ABL advertises its launches at a price of $12 million apiece.

ABL’s rocket and support equipment will be transported in shipping containers. The company said RS1 can be launched from any location with a concrete pad large and strong enough to handle the stresses caused by the booster.

RS1 Launch Locations and Available Orbits

Launch SiteAvailable Orbits
Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla. Mid-inclination and geostationary transfer orbit
Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska Mid- to high-inclination and polar orbits
Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.Mid- to high-inclination and polar orbits
SaxaVord Spaceport, ScotlandHigh-inclination and polar orbits
Source_ ABL Space

ABL Space said it will be able to launch from three U.S. locations — PSC-A, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Vandenberg Space Force Base — and the new SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland.

RS1’s second launch will carry two prototype satellites named KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 for Amazon’s Kuiper broadband constellation. The launch will be conducted from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

RS1 rocket on the launch pad on Kodiak Island. (Credit: PLD Space)

RS1 will carry six CubeSats on a demonstration launch from SaxaVord on its third flight.

ABL has a contract to launch NASA’s cryogenic demonstration mission next year. The payload will demonstration cryogenic propellant transfer in Earth orbit. The company also has received funding from the U.S. Air Force for three demonstration launches.

ABL’s headquarters are located in El Segundo, Calif. The company conducts tests at Edwards Air Force Base and the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

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