Generation Orbit Signs Space Act Agreement With NASA Armstrong

Flight Experiments Testbed (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Flight Experiments Testbed (Credit: Generation Orbit)

ATLANTA — Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the signing of a Space Act Agreement with NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) to collaboratively pursue the flight test and envelope clearance for the GOLauncher 1 air launched rocket vehicle.

Utilizing AFRC’s experience and capabilities in flight test engineering for air launch rocket systems, the two year program will demonstrate integration of the GOLauncher 1 Inert Test Article (GO1-ITA) with NASA’s Gulfstream III research aircraft, captive carry flight testing, and release testing.

Further, NASA AFRC will continue the development of its store separation analysis capability, eventually validating the toolset through release flight testing of the GO1-ITA.

The program will break new ground in demonstrating GO’s unique launch vehicle release maneuver from a business jet aircraft, paving the way for test flights of the GOLauncher 1 hypersonic testbed.

 “We’re incredibly excited about the prospect of flying the GO1-ITA later this year with NASA. The data we’ll gather will allow us to build confidence in our aircraft performance estimates and demonstrate the release of our vehicle from the aircraft for the first time,” commented A.J. Piplica, GO’s Principal Investigator on the effort. “The team at NASA Armstrong brings an immense amount of intelligence and experience in the realm of flight testing, harkening back to the original supersonic and hypersonic flight platforms. We look forward to working with them over the course of the program as we develop a modern hypersonic flight test platform for the 21st century.”

Mr. Dennis Hines, Director for Programs at NASA Armstrong commented on the program: “NASA Armstrong is very pleased and extremely enthusiastic about working with Generation Orbit Launch Services on the separation analysis, captive carry test, and the inert test launch of their air launched liquid rockets. This is a project that was selected to create a public-private partnership as part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s 2015 Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity. NASA Armstrong’s expertise in vehicle integration, air launch, and flight research is ideally suited for this partnership.”

  • ThomasLMatula

    I like the idea, but I wonder about the paint scheme, it looks more like a combat aircraft than a commercial one. Probably OK in the U.S. where they are a lot of private planes in similar colors for various reasons, but I wouldn’t want to fly overseas in it, especially with a rocket under the wing 🙂

  • Hug Doug

    They’re tiger stripes. It’s the livery of Phoenix Air, and they do contract work for the military for things like equipment testing and to play the role of adversarial aircraft for training. They can be outfitted with various things on underwing attach points.

    Just to be clear, this picture is not NASA’s Gulfstream III, this is a Learjet that (I presume) Generation Orbit at some point contracted out from Phoenix Air.

  • mzungu

    So, the company don’t even have the basic know-how of store separation, and needs to hire NASA engineers for data analysis on an inert model . 😛

    We been firing missiles out of airplanes for 50 years, seems it would of been cheaper to hire Raytheon or LM than paying civil servant time,

  • ThomasLMatula

    So it is painted to look like a third world bomber for military missions.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Actually over 70 years, the old B-25, P-38, P-47, Corsairs, etc, all had capability for firing rockets during the last couple years of WW II.

  • Hug Doug

    You can do all the computer models and wind tunnel tests you like, but nothing beats real-world in flight test data.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    My guess is they can’t have a big delay between drop and ignition, and it’s too close to the aircraft to be safe, so they need help.

    Be the terms of their initial contract I thought they were due to fly by Nov this year, and should have been having sub-orbital tests by now.

  • duheagle

    Is that your launch vehicle, Baby, or are ya just happy to see me?

  • mzungu

    Absolutely, Just that the NASA Gulfstream is not the same as the Learjet they been playing with for the last few years… Store separation don’t think would be the same.

    So, it really show me there is a lack of expertise behind their whole operation, sub contracting everything out is no way to make things cheap…All this time, they don’t have an engine fired, or designed, or even picked one to buy…

  • Hug Doug

    They’re a very young company. When you’re just starting out you WANT to work with the people who know more about what you’re doing than you do. This is a strength, not a weakness. They are building their expertise.

    And they aren’t subcontracting everything out. Do a little bit of research on the company.