This week, the U.S. Air Force convened an invited event to present ideas on how U.S. companies can further advance their military ambitions in space. In the end, the Air Force gave entrepreneurs the potential to connect with government buyers.
More than 800 teams have submitted solutions. Four challenges Under the AFWERX program that seeks to foster innovative ideas, the team includes everyone from key government contractors (e.g. Lockheed Martin and SpaceX) to lesser mainstream groups offering UFO propulsion-type ideas. In the end, about 175 teams were invited EngageSpace events On this Tuesday and Wednesday
One of these teams was Astra, a California-based launch company looking to build ultra-low-cost rockets capable of delivering about 25 kg in solar-synchronous orbit. As part of the event, most teams gave private 10-minute presentations to a handful of Air Force and Space Force personnel on solutions to specific problems.
In this case, Astra Global space transport and delivery challenges, Asks for help from businesses to help “develo a space resupply and delivery system that can quickly and accurately place packages, supplies and equipment anywhere on Earth.”
Astra’s presentation of the event was titled “A responsive launch powered by Astra’s Rocket 5.0”. For a while on Thursday, the video of this pitch Publish on VimeoBut after Ars contacted the company, the video went down.
The presentation was made by Adam London, Astra’s co-founder and CTO. After giving an overview of the company’s existing Rocket 3.0, London outlined the services Astra would provide to the Air Force.
“The system we’ve built today can deliver about 25kg in a solar-synchronous orbit. Naturally, it can deliver more than a sub-orbital type of trajectory that might be suitable for the challenge. But with a relatively small payload, the Global Space Transport We can take advantage of this for many possible missions that and Delivery may require,” said London. “So we’re proposing to introduce new and upgraded configurations to the rocket to allow for more payload and make it more useful for the missions planned in this challenge.”
Here, they are saying that London could use a version of the company’s existing rockets to fly in sub-orbital orbits to quickly deliver payloads to locations around the world. Then we discuss the company rocket’s upgrade proposal.
“We currently want to expand the usability of Rocket 3.0 to increase payload performance. We are calling it a new configuration for the Rocket 5.0,” London said. “The same Rocket 3.0 first stage, the same higher stage. We take the version of the first stage and make it a smaller second stage inserted between the two stages. In fact, we have the ability to increase payload performance by almost four times. There is. . “
The new stage uses the same tank design and approach, but there is only one engine to create the new second stage. According to the presentation, corrections can be completed as early as the first quarter of 2022.
Together with three other companies, including Rocket Lab, AstraSelected solution“In the category Global Space Transport and Delivery.
What happens next is not entirely clear. At this meeting, Air Force officials were deliberately vague about how much assistance they could provide to businesses to implement these solutions. However, one source familiar with this issue has speculated that it could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars to support the company through design studies and prototypes.