Fourth SARGE suborbital flight fails, crashes

Capitalism in space: The fourth flight of Exos Aerospace’s suborbital rocket failed yesterday when the rocket’s parachute apparently failed to deploy, sending the rocket crashing to the ground.

A good overview of the company and SARGE’s history can be found here. The live stream of today’s launch is embedded below the fold, cued to just before launch.

This failure appears at this moment to be far more serious than their previous failure, where the rocket shutdown prematurely but safely landed without damage using its chutes.
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Exos suborbital reusable rocket aborts prematurely during third launch

Capitalism in space: The third flight of Exos Aerospace’s reusable suborbital rocket SARGE was cut short today shortly after launch when the rocket had attitude control problems.

A reusable suborbital rocket developed by Exos Aerospace suffered a loss of attitude control seconds after liftoff on a test flight June 29, but the rocket was still able to glide safely back to Earth.

Exos’ Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with GuidancE, or SARGE, rocket lifted off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at about 2 p.m. Eastern. In the company’s webcast, the rocket started gyrating seconds after liftoff before disappearing from view.

Controllers were able to reestablish some control of the rocket, aborting the flight. The rocket deployed a drogue parachute and parafoil while venting unused propellant. The rocket slowly descended under that parafoil, landing within view of the launch pad 14 minutes after liftoff.

That it appears they were able to safely recover the rocket and its payloads is significant, even though this failure is a setback for the company.

EXOS successfully flies its reusable suborbital rocket, SARGE

Capitalsm in space: EXOS yesterday successfully completed its first full test flight, with commercial payloads, of its reusable suborbital rocket, SARGE.

The link has video of the launch and rocket plus payload recovery.

As I noted earlier this week, this company is positioning itself well to join the smallsat boom. It has developed a reusable rocket that it intends to use both as a testbed for development of an orbital reusable version, while simultaneously earning income to pay for that development.

Exos to test the reusability of their suborbital rocket

Capitalism in space: The smallsate rocket company Exos Aerospace has announced that they have scheduled its first fully reusable test flight of its SARGE suborbital rocket for March 2nd.

Exos completed the Pathfinder Launch on August 25, 2018 from Spaceport America. It was the first step in validating the SARGE SRLV that was flown and recovered for reuse. Exos gathered critical flight data that enabled advancing the design and setting them up for continued reuse of their SARGE vehicle.

,,,The “Mission 1” test flight of the SARGE reusable system will carry the commercial payloads flown under the programs listed below. A successful launch will further solidify the company’s plan to use this technology as the design basis of their Jaguar orbital launch vehicle with reusable first stage capable of carrying 100kg to Low Earth Orbit (200-400km).

The link provides the list of payloads. For their orbital rocket their plan seems straightforward and brilliant. Build a simple suborbital rocket that lands by parachute gently enough so that it can be reused. While using that commercially also use it as the testbed for building an orbital rocket whose first stage would also land by parachute.

This approach puts them in direct competition with Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic for the suborbital business, and likely at a much cheaper price than either. And if the plan works to orbit, it also positions them to be a strong competitor in the smallsat orbital rocket business, being the first with a reusable vertically launched rocket.

EXOS completes successful test flight of reusable suborbital rocket

Capitalism in space: EXOS Aerospace yesterday completed a successful test flight of its reusable suborbital rocket, SARGE, at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The company’s first Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with GuidancE, or SARGE, rocket lifted off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at approximately 2:15 p.m. Eastern. After reaching an unspecified peak altitude, the rocket descended under parachute, landing about 15 minutes later a short distance from the pad. The rocket’s nose cone, descending under a ballute, landed several minutes earlier.

The company didn’t immediately disclose technical details about the flight, such as the peak altitude, but in a live webcast of the launch appeared to be satisfied with the vehicle’s performance, despite the vehicle appearing to veer from its vertical trajectory briefly after liftoff.

“This was a very successful test for us,” said John Quinn, chief operating officer of Exos, on the webcast. “We’re very excited that we had all of our recovery systems operational.”

It sounds as if they were mostly testing the recovery systems that will allow the rocket and payload to land safely in a condition to fly again.

EXOS to test fly reusable suborbital rocket in New Mexico

Capitalism in space: EXOS Aerospace has chosen Spaceport America in New Mexico as the location where it will test fly its reusable suborbital rocket dubbed SARGE.

EXOS has completed the design, test and build; has received its FAA launch license and completed the final integration and test hovering for the rocket. A successful test flight is needed to solidify the company’s plans to use the technology as the basis for a planned reusable Orbital class vehicle, the company said in a pres release issued Tuesday.

“We are excited to enter into the testing phase of our SARGE platform at Spaceport America, and even more excited to reveal our plans for our Jaguar Reusable (first stage) LEO launcher,” EXOS COO John Quinn said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to enabling space research, manufacturing and educational opportunity for the world by providing frequent suborbital flights that provide fast and affordable access to space.”

Spaceport American CEO Dan Hicks said a successful test flight could lead to further testing and development at the spaceport.

EXOS is another one of the host of new smallsat rocket companies vying for expected large launch needs in the 2020s. For Spaceport America, a state-run spaceport that was built for Virgin Galactic and its hyped surge in space tourism that never happened and thus has seen practically no activity for the past decade, this announcement is helpful in its effort to attract other launch business.

Another smallsat rocket company enters the fray

Capitalism in space: A new smallsat rocket company, EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, has announced that it will do a test launch out of Spaceport America on May 5, the anniversary of Alan Shepard’s first suborbital flight, of a rocket it dubs SARGE.

The press release did not specifically say whether the test launch would be suborbital or not, though I strongly suspect so. Nor can I find any details about this rocket or the launch at the company’s website. The company sells itself as building reusable rockets, and the press release includes a video of a hover static fire test of one rocket. Other videos at the company’s website show short clips of other flights were an earlier rocket returned to Earth by parachute. They state that SARGE is an upgrade, so maybe they are going to use its engines to slow the landing.

Either way, the smallsat launch industry is getting very crowded. This company seems right now aimed at capturing the suborbital science and school portion of the market that is looking for cheap quick ways to get payloads up into space for very short periods at very low cost.