Headlines > News > FALCON PROGRAM PHASE 2C HORIZONTAL TEST STAND COMPLETE

FALCON PROGRAM PHASE 2C HORIZONTAL TEST STAND COMPLETE

Published by Ekkehard on Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:49 pm
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FALCON PROGRAM PHASE 2C HORIZONTAL TEST STAND COMPLETE

Kirkland, Washington (February 5, 2008 ) -Air Launch LLC announced today that it passed a major hardware milestone in Phase 2C of the DARPA/Air Force Falcon Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) program. The company’s upgraded Horizontal Test Stand (known as HTS-2) is now complete, with new hardware and additional sensors and instrumentation systems for the HTS and the HTS test article installed.

Phase 2C focuses on propulsion characterization of the company’s innovative liquid oxygen (LOX)/propane vapor pressurization (VaPak) propulsion system used on the second stage of its QuickReach™ SLV. Phase 2C Milestones include upgrades to hardware, instrumentation, and test stands; and a series of test fires on the HTS to gather data on engine performance and on the Vertical Test Stand (VTS) to more comprehensively characterize second stage performance.

Prior to this milestone, AirLaunch completed and received approval from the government program team for the following major plans:

• Program Plan, describing how Phase 2C objectives will be met;
• Systems Engineering Plan, outlining requirements, design and key performance parameters;
• Facility Improvement Plans for the Horizontal and Vertical test stands, addressing hardware
upgrades instrumentation improvements, and long-lead items required; and
• HTS Test Plan, confirming the test objectives, measurements and data to be collected, analysis to
be conducted, and description of how the test results will be used to answer the test objectives.

The HTS Test Readiness meeting was conducted in late January in Mojave, California, and AirLaunch received approval from the program to proceed with its series of engine tests on the HTS-2. Approximately 25-30 engine tests are planned.

AirLaunch has successfully completed Phases 1, 2A and 2B of the Falcon SLV program. Phase 2C began in June 2007 and continues through summer of 2008. The company’s QuickReach™ booster is specifically designed to meet the Falcon SLV program needs – capable of delivering 1,000 pounds to low earth orbit for $5 million per launch, with less than 24-hour response time. AirLaunch’s approach achieves responsiveness by flying the two-stage, pressurized QuickReach™ system inside an unmodified C-17A or other large cargo aircraft.

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