Generation Orbit Awarded Contract for GO1 Flight Testing

Credit: Generation Orbit

ATLANTA, April 7, 2017 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the award of a Follow-On Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division (AFRL/RQH) for development and flight testing of the GOLauncher 1 (GO1).

The single stage liquid rocket, launched from a Gulfstream III business jet, will conduct its inaugural flight test in 2019, reaching Mach 6 within the atmosphere. The flight will mark the initial operational capability of the world’s first commercially-available hypersonic test bed, empowering hypersonic researchers with affordable and flexible access to hypersonic flight environments.

This effort is a follow-on of the Phase I and Phase II SBIR Contracts awarded to Generation Orbit by AFRL in July of 2014 and August of 2015, respectively.

“Building on the design and prototyping efforts we are currently engaged in for GO1, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the system together in flight,” commented A.J. Piplica, Chief Executive Officer at GO. “With this hypersonic flight capability available, we hope to see the pace of technology development for high speed flight accelerate in the coming years. From a commercial standpoint, we look forward to taking the first steps toward the operational hypersonic flight systems of the future, creating new markets and truly shrinking the world.”

AFRL project manager, Barry Hellman, also commented on the program. “The design of GO1 builds upon the successes of AFRL’s Hypersonic International Flight Research & Experimentation (HIFiRE) program. GO1 has the potential to significantly increase the rate of hypersonic testing and support testing of a wide range of hypersonic payloads. We have been very pleased with the innovative ideas incorporated into GO1 and the opportunity that the SBIR program has enabled to develop this capability.”

  • Pete Zaitcev

    I wish them all the success, but I’m not optimistic. Seems like a fractional improvement on the theme of Pegasus and we all know how well that ended. Counting years until they insert a booster for ground launch under the top of this stack 🙂

  • JamesG

    Pegasus worked fine for what it was, even though it doesn’t scale well.

    Where it will be interesting is what they can leverage with the hypersonic testbed when the SBIR gravy-train runs out. Not much of a market exists for such things outside of the usual suspects (NASA, USAF, and the occasional university). Will they be able to take their ill-gotten profits and build a small launcher with it?