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AIRLAUNCH LLC COMPLETES FALCON PROGRAM MILESTONE

Published by Ekkehard on Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:54 pm
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AIRLAUNCH LLC COMPLETES FALCON PROGRAM MILESTONE

Kirkland, Washington (January 13, 2006) – Air Launch LLC completed a full scale stage separation test of its QuickReach™ small launch vehicle – the first major milestone of Phase 2B of the DARPA/Air Force Falcon program. This test convincingly demonstrated that the innovative gas pneumatic stage separation technique, pioneered by AirLaunch’s founder Gary C. Hudson, is practical and safe. Prior to this full scale test, AirLaunch performed detailed modeling and conducted a number of component and subscale tests.

In 2005, Team AirLaunch completed Phase 2A on time and on budget with significant hardware and testing, including four engine test firings, a stage separation test, ground drop test, and a C-17 drop test in September 2005.

“Our goals are to complete Phase 2B with a successful Critical Design Review this fall, receive approval to continue into Phase 2C for a demonstration launch, and work with DARPA and the Air Force toward a first flight in 2008,” said Debra Facktor Lepore , President of AirLaunch.

Valued at $17.8 million for a one-year effort, the Falcon Phase 2B contract activity enables AirLaunch and its team of subcontractors to continue developing the QuickReach™ small satellite booster. The Falcon program goal is to develop a vehicle that can launch 1,000 pounds to orbit for less than $5 million with only 24 hours notice. AirLaunch’s design achieves responsiveness by carrying its QuickReach™ booster to altitude inside the cargo bay of an unmodified C-17A or other large cargo aircraft.
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