UP Aerospace launched one of its rockets last week (23 Oct) giving four experiments four minutes of microgravity and space time during the rocket’s suborbital flight. The rocket, an UP SL-9, was launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico. No lizards lounging in the desert were apparently injured during the test.
UP’s rocket flight was tested under NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. The program is designed to encourage a growing of the commercial space market. Three of the payloads on the rocket were tested under NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) Program. The GCD program is intended to mine technologies and capabilities brought by enterprising participants into the program. Those same technologies and capabilities might be used in future NASA missions, especially if they have a significant positive impact on a particular mission or two.
The payloads on board the rocket tested under the GCD program were an advanced kind of sun sensor, a vibration isolation platform, and a computer that tolerates radiation. The fourth test payload was a Spanish one, designed to help investigate the impact that vibrations have on “environment systems and fuel tanks.” There’s more about the payloads on NASA’s GCD project site, right here.
If you are interested in NASA;s Flight Opportunities Program, you can read more about the program, a microgravity experiment, and a Xombie rocket power demonstration on their page right here. In the meantime, it looks like UP has another feather for their rocket test cap, and NASA has another successful Flight Opportunities story to tell (with some nice experiments on the side).