CRuSR and suborbital vehicle development

On Friday I described NASA’s new Flight Opportunities Program site. I pointed at the pages describing the vehicles that are expected soon to start offering high altitude and eventually suborbital space flights for research payloads. I see now that each of these pages also provides a document that gives more details about their vehicles under development and what performance and payload conditions they will provide. The docs seem to be several months old but they are all quite interesting.

The Armadilo page, for example, includes this RFI spreadsheet file (xls), which gives some details of their vehicle plans:

> Three vehicles being campaigned: MOD & Super-MOD (existing) Tube Vehicle (under construction) SOST (under construction)

It describes the tube vehicle as “Tube Vehicle: ‘Conventional rocket style vehicle”.

The SOST, which perhaps stands for Sub-Orbital Space Transport, will have /– “Four tank arrangement with capsule for manned & unmanned flights”. /– “two-man capable” /– Test flights in ” 1st Quarter 2011″ /– Start commercial passenger operations “Before end of 2012” /– Max flight altitude of “100-km”

The flight profile of all their vehicles goes as

> Launch vertically, coast to apogee freefall descent, recovery by drogue and then powered vertical landing.

The flight frequency,

> 2010 Once per week on average 2011 Two to three times per week on average with multiple flights in a single day.

The /– Masten page has this RFI pdf file lays out roughly similar plans for their Xombie, Xoie, Foxie and Xogdor vehicles, except none are for manned flights.

For the other firms: /– XCOR – RFI pdf /– Blue Origin – RFI pdf /– Virgin Galactic – RFI pdf


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