Currently in development, the GOLauncher 1 will serve the hypersonic flight test and suborbital research communities with an affordable air-launched single-stage booster. The GOLauncher 1’s liquid propulsion system maximizes performance and mission flexibility compared to traditional solid booster solutions.
GOLauncher 1 is an air launched single stage rocket capable of serving microgravity, astrophysics, and hypersonics researchers. GO1 can fly a range of suborbital trajectories including high altitude and suppressed. Multiple payload configurations can accommodate both integrated and recoverable experiments, as well as deployable hardware.
Payload Accommodation and Capability
Payloads can be accommodated in two configurations:
- Recoverable: payload modules similar to traditional sounding rocket configurations.
- Deployable: similar to traditional launch vehicle configuration with a deployable fairing, and separation system for the payload
Payload masses range from 30 to 200 lbm for high altitude microgravity research trajectories and up to 700 lbm for hypersonic flight test trajectories.
- High Altitude/Microgravity: Optimized for maximum altitudes ranging up to 300 km and microgravity times up to 7 minutes
- Suppressed: Optimized for sustained high Mach, high dynamic pressure, offering captive carry and free-flyer hypersonic flight testing
High Altitude Science
At high altitudes, the sky is no longer the limit. High altitude flight research runs the gamut of scientific fields from astronomy to biology. While flight times are limited, significant high quality data can be gathered at relatively low cost flying on suborbital launch vehicles. Potential research topics include atmospheric sampling, magnetic field measurements, reentry physics. The flexibility of the launch condition made possible by the air-launch approach taken with GOLauncher 1 allows for flight and sampling at multiple latitudes within a short period of time. Further, our single-stage system allows for a significant amount of time to be spent in the mesosphere and upper stratosphere, a region difficult to access with balloons, satellites, and larger sounding rockets, but vitally important to the understanding of our planet, specifically pertaining to climate change. This includes the study of noctilucent clouds, auroras, and detailed aerodynamic phenomena unique to this region.
The confines of the Earth's surface leave much to be desired when it comes to varying what is normally a constant in many physical laws: gravity. Conducting research in a microgravity environment offers a new perspective on the performance and physical properties of various materials, particle collision physics, as well as new technologies for in-space applications. Understanding how material, chemical, and biological processes work in microgravity and how they differ from the same processes on the ground can shed light on novel manufacturing methods for structures, medicines, and more. Further, low-cost approaches to proving the maturity of advanced technologies such as control system, sensors, and propulsion systems are vital to their implementation in operational systems. GOLauncher 1 maintains a diverse capability to offer substantial microgravity research time to this wide variety of research and development payloads.
Hypersonic Flight Testing
Since man first broke the sound barrier, we have continued to push the limits of capabilities both outside and inside Earth's atmosphere. One of the most challenging aspects of the aerospace industry is the development of vehicles capable of sustained hypersonic flight. While advances in computational methods and ground test facilities have matured technologies like scramjet engines, light weight high temperature composite structures, and autonomous flight controls, flight research and testing is still the key linchpin in transitioning these technologies to operational systems. GOLauncher 1 offers researches the flexibility to conduct both captive carry and free-flyer experiments at high dynamic pressure/high Mach number flight conditions for substantially lower cost has previously been demonstrated.
GO1 Inert Test Article Ground Tests
The first two segments of our GOLauncher 1 Inert Test Article (GO1-ITA) undergoing a series of successful structural ground tests at Mercer’s Engineering Research Center (MERC) at Warner-Robins AFB. The test was designed to evaluate the ITA fiberglass composite structure with emphasis on the segment joint. The structure supported 13.5 g’s normally and 4.5 g’s laterally without damage — well in excess of its expected load condition in flight. In addition GO conducted 1000 load cycles to evaluate fatigue results on the composite structure. The results looked good all around.