The second Spaceloft reusable sounding rocket launched by UP Aerospace roars aloft from its launch tower at Spaceport America in New Mexico in April 2007. SpaceLoft 2 was the first commercial rocket to reach space from Spaceport America. Image credit: UP Aerospace MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - News media representatives are invited to witness the first research flight on a suborbital rocket funded by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program when UP Aerospace Inc.'s SpaceLoft 7 vehicle lifts off June 21, 2013, at Spaceport America near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Liftoff is scheduled to occur between 6 and 9 a.m. PDT.
NASA has funded the flight for seven space-technology experiments to be flown in a space-relevant environment aboard the UP Aerospace sounding rocket. The sub-orbital flight is expected to provide up to four minutes of weightlessness for testing of the experiments. The flight is expected to last about 15 minutes and reach an altitude of 74 miles, with landing targeted about 320 miles downrange on the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range.
Among the payloads being carried are the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), the Italian DTM Technologies' Diapason as well as two high school science experiments funded by a New Mexico Space Grant.
The ADS-B is a commercial off-the-shelf tracking device for use in air traffic control and related applications being developed by the FAA as part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Current plans will require all aircraft and other flight vehicles operating within US airspace to be equipped with ADS-B by 2020.
The Diapason is an instrument to study nano-particle migration and capture, achieved by very small thermal gradients. The particles range from 1 micron to 1/1000 of micron. This range allows the monitoring of combustion-generated pollution, the analysis of hostile environments, and the identification of atmospheric contaminants. UP Aerospace SpaceLoft sounding rockets are about 20 feet long and can carry up to 110 pounds of payload. SpaceLoft 7 will be the firm's 11th launch from Spaceport America.
Media representatives wishing to view the UP Aerospace launch should contact David Wilson, Spaceport America Media Relations, at 575-640-8228 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday, June 19, 2013, at 3 p.m. PDT to arrange for access to the facility.
Officials of NASA's Flight Opportunities Program and UP Aerospace, including Program Executive "LK" Kubendran, Technology Manager Dougal Maclise and UP Aerospace Campaign Manager Paul DeLeon, will be available for interviews after the launch. To arrange interviews, contact Leslie Williams, NASA Dryden public affairs, at 661-810-4977.
UP Aerospace Inc., based in Denver, Colo., is one of eight companies under NASA contract to fly experiments at the boundaries of space to verify the technology works as expected in this environment. The other seven companies are Virgin Galactic, Masten Space Systems, Near Space Corporation, XCOR Aerospace, Whittinghill Aerospace and Armadillo Aerospace.
NASA manages the Flight Opportunities manifest, matching payloads with flights, and will pay for payload integration and flight costs for the selected payloads. Other suborbital flight vendors on contract to NASA will provide flights after they have successfully flown their qualifying vehicles.
The Flight Opportunities Program, part of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, is managed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the technology maturation activities for the program.
For more information on the Flight Opportunities program, visit:
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Text issued as NASA Ames news release 13-46AR