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.
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 ».
Sounding Rocket / Unpiloted
95 - 160 km (115 km standard)
TYPICAL FLIGHT DURATION
TYPICAL DURATION OF MICROGRAVITY
36 kg (115 km)
USEFUL PAYLOAD MASS
3.7 to 32 VDC
DATA STORAGE PROVIDED
Spaceport America, NM
Access to external environment
Reduced gravity capability
Middeck locker compatible
Windowed access to the outside