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Suborbital Research Stakeholders Gather at GSFC Workshop

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Innovative Partnerships Program and Earth Science Division hosted a “Commercial Suborbital Vehicles Workshop” on September 7, 2011. The purpose was to have several commercial developers of suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs) present information to Earth and Space scientists about their emerging capabilities to fly research payloads to the edge of space.

Company presenters included:

  • Neil Milburn, Armadillo Aerospace, LLC
  • Colin Ake, Masten Space Systems
  • Khaki McKee, XCOR Aerospace
  • Will Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic
  • Jerry Larson, Up Aerospace
  • Chuck Lauer, Rocketplane Global


Some commercial payload integrators also attended such as John Savage, Spaceflight Services.

LK Kubendran, the Executive Officer for NASA’s Flight Opportunities (FO) Program gave an update on the Program focused mostly on sRLV-based research aspects. These vehicles will enable researchers to directly access the mesosphere, lower thermosphere region of the atmosphere from 50km to about 100 km altitude for observational and sampling studies. This zone is typically too high for aircraft, and too low for satellites.

Science payloads such as those in development by GSFC Earth and Space scientists via the Research Opportunities in Space & Earth Sciences (ROSES) solicitation can be proposed for flights on these sRLVs. Kubendran’s slides also ...Read More

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