Launch: Aerojet tests reusable AR-22 engine for Boeing Phantom Express + Relativity Space aims for military launch market

NewSpace Watch
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Launch
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July 3, 2018

DARPA highlights the first firing of the engine that Aerojet is developing for Boeing’s Phantom Express. This is a smallsat launcher with a highly reusable first stage, which is funded under DARPA’s Experimental Spaceplane program (formerly called XS-1). The demonstration phase aims to accomplish ten flights in ten days.

  • DARPA on Twitter: “We’re firing the AR-22 engine for our Experimental Spaceplane program! @BoeingSpace and @AerojetRdyne are helping us meet our goals of rapid access to #space and resilient space operations.”

Aerojet AR-22 test firing

  • Bill Snyder on Twitter: “This is the AR-22 rocket test firing. They’re doing 10 of these in 10 days. Each burn is for 100 seconds.… “
  • Aerojet Rocketdyne on Twitter: “A daily flight to space? With @DARPA @BoeingSpace @NASAStennis we’re going #FullThrottle – testing and advancing the rapid turnaround capability of the AR-22 engine for the Phantom Express Experimental Spaceplane”

AR-22 test firign

A local news report on the tests – NASA fires up a new rocket engine – WXXV 25:

See also … Aerojet builds first engine for Boeing’s Phantom Express | NewSpace Global.

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Relativity Space targets military payloads for the company’s smallsat launch systems: Rocket startup sees big future in military launch – SpaceNews.com

Although it has no signed contracts, Relativity Space has lined up a billion dollars worth of launches in letters of intent and memoranda of understanding with commercial and government customers.

Ellis foresees the U.S. military becoming an important customer to Relativity Space. The Pentagon’s posture that views space as a battlefront favors nimble suppliers that can manufacture products fast, he said. “They need the ability to reconstitute constellations quickly. This is super important based on conversations we’re hearing at the government level.”

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