Helios Launch Vehicle

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100 kg to 400 km SSO ~ Rapid Launch ~ Reusable ~ Flexible ~ Mobile ~ Affordable

First Stage

  • 80 kN total average thrust with 8 clustered engines
  • Advanced thrust vector control with no moving parts
  • High-pressure electric pumps
  • Additively manufactured components
  • Environmentally-friendly hypergolic propellant
  • Composite and aluminum structure

Second Stage

  • Single engine derived from first stage combustor optimized for altitude
  • Environmentally-friendly hypergolic propellant
  • Composite primary airframe structure

Third Stage

  • High-performance conventional solid rocket motor
  • Multiple configurations tailored to specific mission requirements
  • Autonomous Flight Safety System
  • Lower-cost than traditional FTS hardware (transceiver, transcoder, radio, etc)
  • Eliminates the need for range-based assets like radar which dramatically lowers small vehicle launch cost

Low-Cost Avionics

  • Based on existing avionics under license from the U.S. Government
  • Leverages state of the art COTS components to minimize hardware cost

Payload Deployer

  • Accommodates a mix of CubeSat 1/2/3/6U configurations and customizable for 12U or larger
  • Compatible with almost any CubeSat that conforms to the Cubesat Standard
  • Non-standard configurations can be accommodated on dedicated missions
  • Spacecraft may be powered on during countdown and ascent and may transmit telemetry via the vehicle interface
  • Spacecraft may contain pressure vessels and propulsion systems

 

 

Overview

The Helios nanolaunch system is a three-stage vertical launch vehicle with liquid propulsion in the first two stages and a solid propellant third stage. The design utilizes common propellants in the first two stages and a common engine design.

Helios utilizes a unique hypergolic propellant that eliminates the need for a separate ignition system but also is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and the exhaust products are environmentally-friendly.

The first stage is designed to be reusable using boostback, powered descent and vertical landing. Phoenix will be completely mobile and not rely on any fixed infrastructure, launch pad or processing facilities. The vehicle will be able to remain fully fueled for hours to days before launch and launch on short notice (less than 2 days) after arrival at the launch site.

Traditional radar-based flight termination becomes a large component of launch cost for nanolaunchers. We are developing an autonomous flight termination system utilizing NASA’s reference AFTU and the Air Force CASS framework.

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