Raptor Aerospace offers an immediate service to launch small payloads to high altitudes and is working towards a space-capable launch service by 2021 delivering microgravity environments for commercial and research payloads. Its existing fleet of launch vehicles is comprised of the Kestrel series with the larger payload and higher flying Merlin and Peregrine vehicles under development.
The Kestrel launch vehicle has been engineered to a variety of specifications to accommodate relatively low altitude launches for relatively small payloads. The range includes the Kestrel 75, Kestrel 100LD, Kestrel 100, Kestrel 135 and Kestrel 150.
The Kestrel 75 vehicle has already been used to make over twenty launches under the UK Space Agency funded ‘ESERO CanSat Competition’ and will be utilised for both the ESERO and independent ‘Mach 21’ CanSat competitions in 2021. The Kestrel 100 variants have been commercially used to carry research payloads through the sound barrier as well as acting as a test-bed for Raptor’s own commercial payload modules and a Kestrel 100 variant is currently being adapted to provide a client with access to high-altitude deployment of a prototype drone for ground surveillance operations.
A higher performance Suborbital launch vehicle capable of carrying payloads of up to 5kg to altitudes of 70km.
The Merlin launch vehicle will act initially as a test bed for elements of the Peregrine vehicle, as well as the related ground systems, and coupled with its relatively low cost it will also be a commercial launch vehicle in its own right. Current booking negotiations for the first Merlin flights are focussing on educational payloads and atmospheric research (including high atmospheric deployment of research payloads).
Raptor Aerospace has now begun full scale development of its Peregrine launch vehicle which will be a 7.5m long, 275mm diameter, 250kg launch-mass suborbital sounding rocket capable of carrying 16kg of payload to an altitude above 100km. The Company expects that this vehicle will provide up to 3 minutes of stable microgravity before re-entering the atmosphere for recovery.
The Peregrine is a lightweight vehicle built using the most up-to-date composite technology and manufacturing techniques. The vehicle features a disposable low-cost booster coupled to Raptor’s unique modular payload system which has the volume capacity to hold up to four 3U cubesats.