[ExI] darpa's notion of using a retrofitted fighter jet to launch payloads
atymes at gmail.com
Tue Feb 17 00:31:10 UTC 2015
Sorry for the late response - busy last week.
On Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 11:13 AM, justin corwin <outlawpoet at gmail.com> wrote:
> If there were a dedicated small payload rocket, I think more cubesats
> might get made
We're working on it. If you want to help a bit, there's a student team
running a KickStarter for an allied effort:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1092366470/project-spartan-spear . Or
if you happen to know investors (angels, people with enough assets that the
SEC calls them "accredited investors", and/or corporate money looking to
develop such a capability), we'll happily take introductions to them.
> Also, currently small payloads often have to wait, which mean timely
> payloads need dedicated launchers. If you could guarantee a launch within
> six months, you might attract more business as well.
Yep that's a definite pain point we've noticed. We are planning to launch
within six months of contract signing - possibly less, but the gating
factor at that point is getting government clearance (mainly FAA, probably
FCC, possibly NOAA & Department of Commerce, depending on who's launching
for who and what the satellite does). In theory we might be able to pull
sub-week turnarounds if all the agencies gave immediate approvals (which
would probably only happen for NASA or USAF emergencies).
As to the comment elsewhere on the thread about CubeSat launch prices going
up: what appears to have happened is that there were certain providers who
promised cheap launch, but then rarely (possibly never) came through. So
their low prices were always fictional. (I have heard of at least one tale
- I'm not sure whether it is entirely true - where a would-be launch
provider just folded, absconding with the customer's money and satellite.)
Others thought they could cram on another CubeSat for not much - if you
have a few kg spare capacity anyway, what can it hurt - but ran into
organizational problems, such as main payload customers objecting to the
perceived added risk the extra payloads brought, so those launch providers
had to renege or find other ways to honor the launch commitment. Now that
both of these classes are getting discredited, the
higher-price-but-will-actually-launch providers' prices are beginning to
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