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Thursday 17 April 2014

An UP Aerospace sounding rocket sits on the launch pad at Spaceport America. - Image credit: Spaceport America

An UP Aerospace sounding rocket sits on the launch pad at Spaceport America. - Image credit: Spaceport America

Sub orbit

UP Aerospace Conducts Tenth Launch From Spaceport America

Spaceport America, NM –- New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced the tenth launch from Spaceport America by UP Aerospace of Denver, Colorado. The liftoff of the sub-orbital sounding rocket took place from Spaceport America’s vertical launch complex at approximately 8:18 a.m. (MST), within the dedicated, five-hour launch window. The rocket reached its sub-orbital altitude of 73 miles or 385,640 feet (117 km), accomplishing a new Spaceport America altitude record.

The launch was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of UP Aerospace, Inc. The primary payloads were Department of Defense (DoD) experiments. Additional payloads were carried for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the University of Texas and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“This successful sub-orbital flight marks our tenth flight from Spaceport America, and we are excited to be delivering payloads for the DoD and other clients like the FAA and the University of Texas,” said Jerry Larson, president of UP Aerospace, Inc.

“UP Aerospace has now been successfully operating from Spaceport America for over five years, and we look forward to hosting many more of their launches as we move forward. During Phase Two of spaceport construction, which is now underway, we are in the process of expanding and improving our Vertical Launch Complex to enhance service to valued customers like Up Aerospace,” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson.

All of the payloads aboard the rocket were scientific and engineering experiments. The primary customer for the launch was the DoD Operationally Responsive Space Office. More information about their payloads can be found at http://www.afmc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123296138. Another payload was designed, built, tested, integrated, and operated by a team of undergraduate students at the University of Texas, and is also part of the DoD Operationally Responsive Space Office payload program. The experiment was designed to compare the performance of various micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers to assess their suitability for use as support instruments in future payloads.

Another payload was flown in conjunction with the FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation, for which New Mexico State University is the administrative lead institution. This payload
further tested the FAA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system for possible future use in management of airspace involved in space operations.

This most recent launch represents the expanding demand for launch services at Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. “This is our second launch this year at the spaceport, and we are extremely pleased to support our regular launch customers like UP Aerospace and Armadillo Aerospace as they conduct their sub-orbital launches from Spaceport America. We also look forward to hosting future NASA-funded ‘Flight Opportunities’ suborbital research launches coming up later this year. Spaceport America continues to set the precedent for safe, efficient, effective service for commercial spaceflight customers,” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson. This UP Aerospace launch marks the fifteenth vertical launch overall from the Spaceport America Vertical Launch Complex.

UP Aerospace was created in 1998 by founder Jerry Larson and incorporated in 2004 with its headquarters located in Denver, Colorado. UP Aerospace has been successfully conducting launches from Spaceport America in New Mexico with a total of ten launch campaigns from the spaceport: six of the SpaceLoft XL launch vehicle, and four additional launches of proprietary systems for Lockheed Martin and MOOG. The company’s launch operations and SpaceLoft vehicles were designed and built from the ground up as a highly reliable, low-cost Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) system. Flight hardware reusability has been a key program requirement for the SpaceLoft XL launch program, enabling further advancements in low-cost space launch operations. UP Aerospace has successfully demonstrated and refined launch and integration services spanning over five years and 40 individual payload customers. For more information, please visit: http://www.upaerospace.us.com/

Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. It is situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the US Army White Sands Missile Range. Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s company, is the spaceports anchor tenant. Phase One of the construction for the spaceport is expected to be complete in 2012. Phase Two of the construction and pre-operations activities has begun and includes improvements to the vertical launch complex, the paving of the southern road to the spaceport, and the development of a world-class Visitor Experience for students, tourists and space launch customers.
To date, there have been 15 vertical launches at the Spaceport. Customers include Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, MOOG FTS and Lockheed Martin. The Spaceport also hosts a student launch annually in concert with the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium. Last year there were over 800 students and teachers participating. The Spaceport presents a tremendous opportunity to excite and inspire our students in science and math. The Spaceport Visitor Experience is strongly focused on this objective. The economic impact of launches, tourism and new construction at Spaceport America are already delivering on the promise of economic development to the people of New Mexico. Over 1,000 jobs for New Mexicans have been generated to date. For more information, please visit: www.spaceportamerica.com

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