Company Plans Suborbital Launches Using MiG Fighter

Premier Space Systems' Mig-21UM jet during a test flight. (Credit: Premier Space Systems)

I saw an interesting presentation at NSRC yesterday by Scott Powell and Arif Karabeyoglu on a new plan to launch suborbital payloads using jet aircraft.

Their company, Premier Space Systems, is developing a system that uses Soviet-era MiG-21UM to air launch payloads weighing up to 45 kg (99 pounds). The company is developing 10-inch and 22-inch LOX-parafin hybrid rockets, which are being tested in Butte, Montana.

Premier has completed three captive carry flights. An additional six captive carry tests are planned by the end of June, according to the company’s website.

The MiG-22UM is a high performance jet of which more than 13,000 were produced. So, there is no shortage of spare parts for the company’s fleet, Powell said.

The company is located at the Hillsboro Oregon Airport. It is with Space Propulsion Group, Spath Engineering, Premier Jets, and the Portland State Aerospace Society.

Premier plans to offer orbital services in the future using a larger aircraft, the company’s website states.