EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc. has revealed another milestone in the company's quest to launch their newest vehicle, SARGE.
EXOS — a Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle (SRLV) — has completed the design and build of their latest platform, completed fully integrated hover testing, received their Launch License, and is now making final preparation for their Pathfinder test flight on April 7, 2018. The testing and license progress marks a major milestone with acceptance testing that included connecting all the systems required for flight, and proceeding through full operations as if they were executing an actual launch. The only difference from an actual launch is the rocket is commanded to fly to an altitude of only a few meters above its current altitude. Such testing is how Exos validates the full integration of hardware, software, Guidance, Navigation and Control, in addition to validating human procedural interface without leaving the test facility.
Completion of this testing brings Exos a critical step closer to providing suborbital services to the smallsat community by providing frequent access to test up to 50 kg. satellites in space (3 to 4 minutes) and then return them to the launch site (just 20 minutes after launch).
John Quinn, the COO at EXOS, said that the company is excited to move two critical steps closer to launches at Spaceport America. The company is looking forward to enabling space research, manufacturing, and educational opportunity for the world by providing frequent flights that provide fast and affordable access to space. As the 36 foot tall, 20 inch in diameter SARGE rocket is designed for reusability, it is inherently built to test by flying it just 10 to 15 feet off the ground. This test is easiest to “see” by trying to balance a pencil on your finger, then just replace the pencil with the SARGE rocket and replace your finger with a gimballed engine that keeps it upright during the test. This testing has proven key to validating systems functionality and reliability that will be used for our orbital launcher (more details to be announced post launch). SARGE will be using NASA’s Morpheus flight code (acquired through a Space Act Agreement) that was modified by a team of scientists from Exos, Intuitive Machine, C-Squared, Helios and XISP Inc.
What’s next for Exos? The SARGE platform is “technically” the test bed for the firm's orbital launcher. The technologies developed and tested on the suborbital flight directly transfer to the company's design of a small LEO launcher. Successful testing >80 km. by the SARGE vehicle on April 7 is intended to qualify Exos for an IDIQ onramp by NASA. While the company is a NASA REDDI provider for suborbital services, Exos is ready to proceed to greater endeavors and success.