Air Launch Testbed for Endoatmospheric Hypersonic Trajectories

Period of Performance: 06/16/2014 - 03/16/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc.
3353 W Hospital Ave
Atlanta, GA 30341
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


ABSTRACT: Generation Orbit is proposing to develop a system architecture rooted in the success of the HIFiRE program, but capable of longer duration testing at high dynamic pressure, high Mach number flight conditions, flexible enough to maximize accessibility to customer defined test windows, while also reducing cost, risk, and schedule compared to past programs. These objectives will be accomplished by detailed interaction with stakeholders guiding prudent requirements development and early iteration with system-level design, subsystem hardware and software development, and systems integration. Generation Orbit has developed an initial concept for a novel booster platform able to deliver the desired capability. GOLauncher 1 is an air launch system consisting of a carrier aircraft and a single stage liquid rocket booster capable of captive carry or deployment of free flyer payloads of over 300 lbm within a range of endoatmospheric hypersonic test windows. Products of the proposed effort include system-level trade studies, novel trajectory design for access to hypersonic fight test windows via suppressed trajectories, and subsystem level technology development. BENEFIT: Anticipated benefits of the proposed effort include: Access to approximately 80% of the customer defined windows for propulsion and controls, boundary layer physics, aeroheating, and rocketback testing Realize improved test times over legacy booster systems, providing minutes of sustained access to high Mach number, high dynamic pressure flight conditions through air launch of a high-propellant mass fraction liquid booster system capable of providing thrust vector control and active throttle control Reduce the number of stages required to access the customer-defined test windows by air launch of a single-stage booster Leverage existing technologies within a novel system design to deliver a new testing capability at low development and recurring cost. Evolvability to larger payloads and commercialization through synergistic development with nanosatellite launch system