ABOUT NEWS RESOURCES BLOG CONTACT US LOG IN www.nasa.gov/spacetech →

SpaceLoft™ XL

UP Aerospace
UP Aerospace Launch System

Spaceloft Launch System. Credit: UP Aerospace

PLATFORM

The SpaceLoft™ is a reusable launch vehicle that was developed by UP Aerospace in 2006 as a microgravity research platform for education, scientific research, and commercial payloads. The vehicle consists of an expendable carbon composite solid rocket booster, avionics and recovery section, and a payload bay. The SpaceLoft™ launch system is designed with robust margins of safety, and redundancy throughout all mission critical systems.

The first test flight of SpaceLoft™ occurred in September of 2006 with the first mission to successfully reach space in April of 2007. The SpaceLoft™ payload delivery system has flown commercially over 7 times with over 40 payload customers, is flight proven and fully operational.

FLIGHT PROFILE

SpaceLoft™ is ground launched from Spaceport America using a remote hydraulic launcher and automated launch systems. The solid rocket motor burns for 12 seconds and reaches space within 60 seconds. A de-spin system slows the roll rate to near zero when microgravity experiments can begin to be conducted. The payload section remains weightless in excess of 4 minutes.

During the re-entry phase of the flight the booster section is released and the payload and recovery sections are balanced to trim in a horizontal orientation to slow the vehicle. At about a mile above the ground redundant onboard controls release the drogue parachute system which orientates the payload section in a vertical heads down attitude. 10 seconds after drogue deploy the main parachute is released and provides a soft landing on White Sands Missile Range. UP Aerospace and Army recovery crews are immediately dispatched to the landing site to retrieve the payload(s) and fly it back to Spaceport America where they are unloaded from the payload bay and provide back to the customers onsite.

PAYLOAD CONFIGURATION & INTEGRATION

The heart of the SpaceLoft™ payload delivery system is the patent pending Payload Transportation System™ (PTS) . Each standard SpaceLoft™ mission contains seven PTS containers with two different sizes to choose from.The  PTS10 is the larger of the two with internal dimensions measuring 23.5 cm tall and a diameter of 24.8 cm. The PTS4 internal dimensions are 8.3 cm in height and a diameter of 24.8 cm. All PTS containers have access to the space environment through opening in the vehicle airframe and access panels. Options for each PTS include discrete command, power modules, and telemetry which can be customized to match specific payload requirements.

Once a payloader is signed up to a particular mission the PTS container(s) are provided directly to the payloader to begin payload configuration, layout and mechanical mounting of hardware. Following a successful Payload Readiness Review the PTS containers are then shipped back to UP Aerospace to complete payload integration process and certification for flight onboard the SpaceLoft™.

UP Aerospace provides more information in the SpaceLoft Payload User's Guide ».

Ongoing

COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS

SpaceLoft™ XL

KEY SPECIFICATIONS

Sounding Rocket / Unpiloted

TYPE

n/a

PASSENGERS

95 - 160 km (115 km standard)

MAXIMUM ALTITUDE

13 minutes

TYPICAL FLIGHT DURATION

4+ minutes

TYPICAL DURATION OF MICROGRAVITY

tbd

MICROGRAVITY LEVEL

36 kg (115 km)

USEFUL PAYLOAD MASS

-

POINTING ACCURACY

3.7 to 32 VDC

POWER

tbd

DATA STORAGE PROVIDED

Spaceport America, NM

INITIAL SPACEPORT

Access to external environment

Telemetry

Reduced gravity capability

Middeck locker compatible

Windowed access to the outside



Payload User's Guide (PUG Lite)»

MORE INFORMATION

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Douglas Maclise Last Update: March 31, 2014