Feb 03 2015

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SALVO to launch this spring

Gunter’s Space Page posts a new entry on his home page: SALVO
and posts the following:

SALVO (Small Air Launch Vehicle to Orbit) is a small nanosatellite launch vehicle concept designed by Ventions Inc. for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The vehicle is planned as a pathfinder for the larger ALASA launch vehicle to learn, how to operate an air launch system effectively.

SALVO uses LOX and Kerosene as propellants. It features battery-powered pumps for its rocket engines.

The SALVO vehicle is designed to attach under an unmodified F-15E aircraft. Once the airplane reaches the appropriate height, it would release the SALVO vehicle. The vehicle would then fire its four main engines and launch into low-Earth orbit to deploy a 3U Cubesat payload with a mass of up to 5 kilograms.

The first of up to three launches is planned for spring 2015.

Here’s Vention’s web site (the kind of super cool company for whom I’d love to work, just sayin’….), which doesn’t carry much on SALVO, but it does link to this SpaceReview.com article, which provides the following info:

Another approach that DARPA is taking to better understand, and lower, the cost of operations sounds counterintuitive at first: the development a second, smaller launch system. The Small Air Launch Vehicle to Orbit, or SALVO, will also fly off an F-15. The rocket, a two-stage system using liquid oxygen (LOX) and RP-1 propellants, is being developed by Ventions, a small San Francisco-based launch technology company.

SALVO will demonstrate some new technologies, Clapp said, such as battery-powered pumps for the rocket’s engines. However, he said SALVO’s main purpose is to be an operational pathfinder for how the larger ALASA system will operate.

“It’s meant to be an icebreaker,” he said, giving the overall program experience with range approvals and other processes. “It makes sure everyone is comfortable so that when ALASA itself flies it will all be familiar to the people doing the work.”

In its role as an operations pathfinder, SALVO will fly six to nine months before the first ALASA launch. In his ISDC talk, Clapp said integrated rocket stage testing of SALVO was planned for August, and captive carry flights would begin in November. The first of up to three SALVO missions is planned for the spring of 2015. The rocket will be able to place a 3U CubeSat into orbit, a small fraction of ALASA’s payload. (SALVO will also be smaller than another small air launch system under development, GOLauncher 2 by Generation Orbit, which plans to have a payload capacity similar to ALASA.)

Hmmm…sounds interesting. I’m going to reach out to Vention and see if they can give me more specific test launch dates.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/02/03/salvo-to-launch-this-spring/

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