An Update on the Bloostar Launch System

Bloostar balloon launch system (Credit: zero2infinity)
Bloostar balloon launch system (Credit: zero2infinity)

José Mariano López Urdiales, founder and CEO of the Spanish startup zero2infinity, gave a presentation on Thursday about the company’s Bloostar balloon-launched smallsat rocket during the International Astronautical Conference in Jerusalem.

Mark Schaffer ‏(@mgschaffer), a senior Senior Aerospace Engineer at SpaceWorks Enterprises, provided the following details via Twitter.
  • Rocket lifted by balloon to 20 km altitude for launch
  • Balloon launched from boat off Canary Islands at  27 degrees latitude
  • Payloads: 125kg to 400km @ 27 degrees low Earth orbit, 75kg to 600 km sun synchronous orbit
  • 3-stage rocket with all engines using LOX/CH4
  • 1st stage has 6 15kN LOX/LCH4 engines. 2nd & 3rd stages use same 2kN LOX/LCH4 engine; 6 engines on 2nd stage, 1 engine on 3rd
  • Balloon to be used as communications relay after rocket release
  • First test flight of orbital vehicle Q2 2018, first commercial flights after 4th test flight
  • Developing upper stage first
  • Will offer suborbital flights with 75 kg to 180km by Q4 2016
  • Expects $4.0M USD per launch, lower for block buy
  • Launch cost will be half price of competitors
  • Program has 25 investors from Hong Kong, France, Germany and Spain
  • Funding available to reach initial operations
  • €198M in letters of intent from customers across 7 countries.