BRUNSWICK, Maine — A Maine company that’s creating a rocket to propel small satellites into area handed its first main take a look at on Sunday.
Brunswick-based bluShift Aerospace launched a 20-foot (6-meter) prototype rocket, hitting an altitude of slightly greater than 4,000 toes (1,219 meters) in a primary run designed to check the rocket’s propulsion and management techniques.
It carried a science challenge by Falmouth Excessive College college students that can measure flight metrics comparable to barometric strain, a particular alloy that’s being examined by a New Hampshire company — and a Dutch dessert known as stroopwafel, in an homage to its Amsterdam-based guardian company. Organizers of the launch mentioned the gadgets have been included to exhibit the inclusion of a small payload.
The company, which launched from the northern Maine city of Limestone, the positioning of the previous Loring Air Pressure Base, is one in every of dozens racing to seek out inexpensive methods to launch so-called nano satellites. A few of them, known as Dice-Sats, might be as small as 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters.
Sascha Deri, chief government officer of bluShift, mentioned the company is banking on changing into a faster, extra environment friendly approach of transporting satellites to area.
“There’s quite a lot of corporations on the market which are like freight trains to area,” Deri mentioned. “We’re going to be the Uber to area, the place we stock one, two or three payloads profitably.”
One other facet that makes bluShift’s rocket totally different is its hybrid propulsion system.
It depends on a stable gasoline and a liquid oxidizer passing both by or across the stable gasoline; the result’s an easier, extra inexpensive system than a liquid fuel-only rocket, mentioned spokesperson Seth Lockman. The gasoline is a proprietary biofuel mix sourced from farms, Deri mentioned.
“It’s a really unhazardous gasoline, I prefer to say that I might give it to both of my little daughters. Nothing unhealthy would occur to them, I swear,” he mentioned. “So it’s very a lot unhazardous. It’s carbon impartial.”
The purpose is to create a small rocket that would launch a 30-kilogram (66-pound) payload into low-Earth orbit, greater than 100 miles (160 kilometers) above Earth’s floor. Lockman mentioned orbit may very well be potential by 2024.
The company has spent $800,000 on analysis and improvement, with a number of the cash coming from NASA.
Representatives from bluShift mentioned they don’t anticipate having the ability to launch from Brunswick, the place they’re headquartered, due to inhabitants density within the space.
An tried take a look at launch in Limestone earlier in January was postponed due to climate. Sunday’s launch was additionally held again by a few false begins, however occasion organizers described the eventual three p.m. liftoff as “good.”