NASA signs engineering test agreement with new launch company

The competition heats up: NASA has signed an agreement to provide testing facilities to Generation Orbit so it can do test flights of its air-launched rocket.

Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the signing of a Space Act Agreement with NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) to collaboratively pursue the flight test and envelope clearance for the GOLauncher 1 air launched rocket vehicle. Utilizing AFRC’s experience and capabilities in flight test engineering for air launch rocket systems, the two year program will demonstrate integration of the GOLauncher 1 Inert Test Article (GO1-ITA) with NASA’s Gulfstream III research aircraft, captive carry flight testing, and release testing. Further, NASA AFRC will continue the development of its store separation analysis capability, eventually validating the toolset through release flight testing of the GO1-ITA.

Like many similar past SAA agreements, NASA will provide no money, but will make its facilities available for testing at no charge. For a new company like this, this availability will help them enormously, and is more in line with what NASA was originally designed to do.

Another new launch company completes flight test

The competition heats up: Generation Orbit this week completed a test flight of its air launch rocket system for putting small payloads into space.

The flight was to test the handling and flight characteristics of the aircraft to be used to release the launchers.

The company is planning two different air-launched systems, one to put small payloads into suborbital space, another to put 100 pound payloads into orbit. In both cases they are targeting the science and educational community that builds cubesats and has been in desperate need of its own launch services for decades.