Swiss Space Systems to Drop Mockup Vehicle in Canada

SOAR spaceplane atop an A-300. (Credit: S3)
SOAR spaceplane atop an A-300. (Credit: S3)

NORTH BAY, Ont., June 26, 2014 (S3 PR) —Swiss Space Systems Holding SA (S3) announced today in the presence of local authorities and dignitaries its partnership with the City of North Bay and Canadore College.

This partnership will enable S3 to initiate several technical activities from this Canadian region, a highly interesting zone, because of its geographic situation and its large available test flight corridors.

The first operations to be conducted from the North Bay Jack Garland Airport (YYB) will be drop tests and mock-up test flights of the SOAR shuttle, a reusable suborbital rocket-powered vehicle designed to orbit satellites of up to 250kg. This campaign will begin in 2014 and will extend throughout the 2015 academic year. Initially, the small-scale shuttle mock-up, including its drone systems, will be captive-carried by a helicopter. In a second phase, it will be released from a helicopter at an altitude of 5,000 meters, which will enable testing of flight systems and the aerodynamics of the shuttle, in parallel of a wind tunnel testing campaign conducted in the US to validate aerodynamics.

For this test campaign, S3 will count on the technical and operational support of the North Bay Jack Garland Airport (YYB) and Canadore College, with its dedicated Aviation Technology Campus. The campus benefits from funding from the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), which in turn enables Canadore College to support S3’s mock-up test flights.

S3 continues to develop from its headquarters of Payerne, Switzerland. The company has expanded its network of industrial and academic partners, as well as its network of operation centers including Malaysia (Spaceport Malaysia), the United States (Spaceport Colorado and Kennedy Space Center) and the Canary Islands (S3 Spain).

A strategic partnership with the City of North Bay and Canadore College

Representatives of the City of North Bay and of Canadore College, as well as local dignitaries and numerous guests were gathered for the official announcement of this partnership between S3, the City and Canadore. This cooperation enables S3 to operate from the North Bay region, which represents an ideal location to conduct test flights, thanks to its geographic situation and generous test flight corridors.

This campaign will be concluded with complete test flights throughout the 2015 academic year. These will be drop-tests, releasing a mock-up of the SOAR suborbital shuttle equipped with drone flight systems automatically controlled from the ground. The drop-test of the mock up will first be done from a helicopter, at an altitude of 5,000 meters enabling the accurate replica of the SOAR to reach transonic speed.

“In the name of our College, I’m very happy to see S3 coming to our region to work with our Aviation Campus which will provide the company with specialized expertise and support,” said George Burton, Canadore College’s President and CEO. “We trust that this partnership will lead to a long-term collaboration, a collaboration beginning with the forthcoming drop test campaign.”

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald added: “This is a very important relationship for the City of North Bay, the airport and Canadore College.  A strong partnership has been fostered over the past nine months with visits from S3 senior executives from Switzerland and the United States.  We are extremely pleased to partner with S3 on this revolutionary space project that will be housed right here in North Bay.  This strategic partnership will foster further development of our expertise in aerospace and position our community as a leader in this emerging growth sector.”

“In North Bay, S3 has found very strong support in order to perform this crucial step in the development phase of our reusable suborbital shuttle. These drop tests will indeed enable us to test both flight systems and aerodynamic properties, the latter also being validated during a wind tunnel test campaign in the US,” outlined Robert Feierbach, Head of S3 USA, representing S3 at this occasion. “These drop tests are only the beginning of a collaboration with North Bay and Canadore College, as we wish to potentially expand our operations in the region.”