Lockheed Martin Reusable Rocket Plane
October 10, 2009
The successful launch lifted off at 9:45am during a four
hour launch window. UP Aerospace was contracted by Lockheed Martin Space
Systems Company to provide the launch services for the test flight including, launch operations, launch
approvals, launch facilities, and recovery of the vehicle.
Slater Voorhees of Lockheed Martin said, "the purpose of the test flights is to take a
look at tackling the ground and launch operations for responsive space needs. That includes advancing leaner,
less-costly, and more rapid launch-to-space capabilities." "Working out of Spaceport America and in
cooperation with UP Aerospace has proven beneficial." Voorhees noted. (Credit,
"This is our
third launch for Lockheed Martin from Spaceport America, which is proving to be an ideal location for
supplying low-cost, fast-turnaround launch operations, Jerry Larson, President of UP Aerospace said in a
press statement issued by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.
The suborbital launch of the
rocket plane performed a planned trajectory, landing right on target in a pre-determined touchdown zone at the
"Our recovery crew was
dispatched within 20 minutes after touchdown and we were able to return the vehicle to our customer for
evaluation that same morning." Larson said.
"The flight of the test craft
followed a very short launch campaign, Larson said. "We spent just a few days setting up and testing and then
launched during our first window", "our smoothest launch campaign yet."
Above Photo: Lockheed Martins autonomous rocket plane lifts off
from the UP Aerospace launch complex at Spaceport America in Southern New Mexico August 12, 2008
(Credit: Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company)