bluShift Aerospace successfully launched its Stardust 1.0 (Stardust Generation One) sounding rocket on a low-altitude demonstration flight on Sunday from the Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone, Maine.
The booster, powered by biofuels, flew from the former U.S. Air Force Base to an altitude of about 4,000 feet (1,219 m) before deploying a parachute to return to Earth.
bluShift is planning to develop a series of launch vehicles, including three suborbital rockets (Stardust Generation 1, Stardust Generation 2 and Starless Rougue) and an orbital booster known as Red Dwarf.
The Stardust rockets are designed as technology test beds. Starless Rogue is designed to provide six minutes of microgravity time for experiments on suborbital flights. The booster can also be used for hypersonic testing at speeds of Mach 6 to 7.
Red Dwarf is a low-Earth orbit (LEO) launch vehicle designed to launch one or two nanosats weighing up to 30 kg (66 lb). bluShift says low launch accelerations of less than 5 gs make Red Dwarf ideal for fragile payloads.