Concept Of Operations

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Published on March 9, 2014

Author: microlaunchers

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Microlaunchers Concept of Operations

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Microlaunchers LLC ML-1 Conops Concept of Operations PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Copyright 2014 Microlaunchers LLC PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Contents CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 5 PURPOSE ................................................................................................................................................... 5 CORPORATE OVERVIEW ............................................................................................................................ 5 CHAPTER 2 – ML-1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 6 Vehicle Performance ................................................................................................................................. 6 Vehicle Detailed Description ..................................................................................................................... 6 Stage 1................................................................................................................................................... 6 Stage 2................................................................................................................................................... 7 Stage 3................................................................................................................................................... 7 Safety System ........................................................................................................................................ 8 Chapter 3 – Example Launch Operations ...................................................................................................... 9 Preliminary Operations ............................................................................................................................. 9 Planning................................................................................................................................................. 9 Payload Preparation.............................................................................................................................. 9 Launch Day Operations ............................................................................................................................. 9 Transportation ...................................................................................................................................... 9 Unloading .............................................................................................................................................. 9 Preparation and Propellant Loading ................................................................................................... 10 Mission Control and Monitoring ......................................................................................................... 10 Flight.................................................................................................................................................... 11 Chapter 4 – Support Equipment ................................................................................................................. 12 Launch Stand ........................................................................................................................................... 12 Access Towers ......................................................................................................................................... 12 Cranes or Winches .................................................................................................................................. 13 LOX Storage and Transportation............................................................................................................. 13 Propane and Butane Storage .................................................................................................................. 14 Safety Equipment .................................................................................................................................... 14 Fire Fighting Equipment ...................................................................................................................... 14 Medical Equipment ............................................................................................................................. 14 Communications Equipment............................................................................................................... 15 Shelter ..................................................................................................................................................... 15 Transportation ........................................................................................................................................ 15 PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Stage Carriers .......................................................................................................................................... 15 Power Generation ................................................................................................................................... 16 Lights ....................................................................................................................................................... 16 Appendix A – Vehicle Statistics ................................................................................................................... 17 PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION PURPOSE The purpose of this document is to provide a basic concept of operations for Microlaunchers LLC ML-1 Launch Vehicle. CORPORATE OVERVIEW Microlaunchers LLC promises to change the way that space access is performed. With its unique approach to launching small payloads into space, it promises to make space more accessible to many more people by lowering costs and increasing launch frequency while giving payload operators greater flexibility in where they go into space. Key to this approach is a “start small” attitude that emphasizes starting with small launchers and small spacecraft. The idea is that by starting small, there are increased opportunities for many disparate groups to develop and acquire launch vehicle technology that can make space accessible and available. Microlaunchers LLC provides products and services in support of this effort. Microlaunchers LLC’s role in making this happen is to lead in the development of key technologies, make launch vehicle and spacecraft components and systems commercially available and provide launch services with the systems it has developed. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL CHAPTER 2 – ML-1 Introduction The Microlaunchers LLC ML-1 Launch Vehicle is a 3 stage launch vehicle designed to put a 200 gram payload on an escape trajectory. Considering this amazing capability, it is relatively diminutive in size, having a diameter of only 10 inches and an overall height of 24 feet. Manufactured by Microlaunchers LLC, it is considered to be the flagship product in our small payload launch services. Because it is relatively small, it can be launched from land or sea in a short period of time. It is small enough to be transported to the site using a standard flat bed or box truck. Because the empty vehicle is completely inert and uses no pyrotechnics, it can safely and legally be transported to its launch site where it can be fueled and prepared for launch. Vehicle Performance The ML-1, with its three stages can lift a payload of up to 200 grams to an escape trajectory. This means that it has the ability to send these payloads towards the moon or into orbit around the sun. One benefit of this approach is that these small payloads do not add to orbital debris problems because the payload has gone beyond Earth orbit. Alternatively, as some customers may desire, it is possible to put payloads of about 4.5 lbs into Low Earth Orbit. This vehicle can also launch much larger payloads on suborbital sounding rocket trajectories. The escape payload of 200 grams may seem small, but it is possible to do meaningful science missions with this payload. Swarms of these small payloads can provide monitoring of scientifically significant parameters around the solar system. Vehicle Detailed Description Stage 1 The first stage of Microlaunchers LLC’s ML-1 vehicle is ten inches in diameter and 12 feet 7 inches high. At its highest end, it accepts the upper stage aerodynamic fairing which gives the vehicle its full height of 24 feet. It uses liquid oxygen as the PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL oxidizer and liquefied propane as the fuel. These propellants are relatively green in that they leave no toxic residues at the launch site. Fully loaded, the stage weighs about 330 lbs and weighs only 76 lbs empty. With the specified 200 gram payload, the first stage can lift the upper stage vehicles to an altitude above 40 miles. Because of the vertical flight trajectory, it is expected that this stage will return to within a few miles of the launch site, thus avoiding overflights of populated areas. Stage 2 Stage 2 is an advanced electroformed rocket vehicle utilizing liquid oxygen and butane as propellants. As in stage 1, these are relatively “green” propellants which leave no hazardous residues behind but which are powerfully energetic propellants. By utilizing advanced construction techniques for the tanks and engine, this stage is amazingly light for its size and capability, weighing only about 5 lbs empty and 44 lbs full. Thus, it can accelerate a 28 lb payload (the third stage with its payload) to 8000 feet per second. The rocket engine is a 50 lb-f thrust engine running at a low chamber pressure of about 30 PSI and with a 40:1 expansion ratio. It is regeneratively cooled with a minimal of film cooling. It can be expected to provide an efficiency of 320 seconds Isp and to burn for about 245 seconds. The ignition system for this stage and for the third stage are carried on this vehicle. Since it operates entirely in the near vacuum above 40 miles altitude, it needs minimal aerodynamic shielding. Stage 3 Stage 3 is very similar to stage 2 but is a bit smaller. It uses the same liquid oxygen and butane propellants with their associated benefits. It is also very light, weighing 1.4 lbs empty and 28 lbs full. Its rocket motor also operates at low chamber pressure of about 30 PSI. Because it is expected to operate entirely in a vacuum it can work well with a nozzle expansion ratio of 55:1. It is expected to operate with a high Isp efficiency of about 320 seconds for a duration of about 300 seconds. The engine produces about 27 lb-f of thrust and is regeneratively cooled with a minimum of film cooling. Small paddles in the exhaust stream provide the roll, pitch and yaw control. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Because of its light weight and high performance, this stage can accelerate a payload of 200 grams to over 28000 feet per second, placing this payload on an escape trajectory. The image to the left shows stage 3 with a payload. Safety System In order to assure safe operation of all stages, the Microlaunchers ML-1 uses a unique guidance system which also facilitates safety. With the first stage flying a vertical trajectory, it will be in view of the launch site throughout its entire flight. A command-to-line-of-site guidance system uses commands and signals from the ground during safe operation. If an emergency condition arises, the ground transmitted signals will terminate and the stages initiate a flight termination mode where thrust is terminated, propellants are vented and upper stages are jettisoned (with each stage following the same sequence). This assures that only light, empty stages fall to the ground. This approach presents minimal risk to the non-involved public. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Chapter 3 – Example Launch Operations Preliminary Operations Operations start with the preliminary activities of obtaining launch licenses and insurance and the reception of orders from customers. Planning Once licenses, insurance and orders are in place, planning of a launch campaign ensues. Logistic planning, transportation planning, site selection, orbital mechanics planning, ordering of propellants for delivery and several other preliminary planning activities are performed. Payload Preparation Once the customer delivers the payload, payload preparation can begin. This would entail mounting the payload on payload carriers, maintaining environmental conditions necessary for storage, storing the payloads leading up to the launch campaign, and then the final preparation of the payload for launch. Launch Day Operations Once the planning and preparation activities are completed, a launch operation is initiated. Transportation On launch day of the launch campaign, empty launch vehicles are prepared for their launches and loaded onto carrier vehicles. Payloads, in their storage and protective containers are also loaded for transportation. Unloading The rocket stages, payloads and launch infrastructure are driven to the launch site, unloaded and made ready for launch. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Preparation and Propellant Loading The rockets are prepped in a horizontal position. This allows full checkout of the vehicle and integrated payload. With payloads loaded, all stages integrated and mated to their lower stages, and all initial system checks completed, the vehicle is then raised for launch. Once automated on-the-pad system checks are completed, the vehicle is loaded with propellants. Propellant conditioning equipment is brought near the rocket with the liquid propellants and the conditioning equipment begins pumping and conditioning the propellants. This is necessary because most stages require fairly precise propellant temperature control for proper operation. Mission Control and Monitoring As the vehicle becomes ready, authority is transferred to the Mission Control and Monitoring station. This station consists of equipment necessary to provide mission control information to the rocket before and after launch and to monitor flight progress throughout the flight. Because of the near-vertical flight of the first stage, tracking cameras are used to triangulate the vehicle’s position and ascertain that it is operating within acceptable flight parameters. In order to not perform a flight abort, the vehicle must receive a radio signal from the Mission Control system. This provides an automatic fail-safe abort method should any emergencies arise. Telemetry is also received by radio from the vehicle to provide additional status monitoring. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Flight The first stage vehicle travels a nearly-vertical flight path to upwards of 80 miles. At about 20 miles altitude, the first stage main engine is shut down and vernier rockets maintain propellant settling thrust. This propellant settling thrust is continued to about 40 miles altitude. Just prior to shutting off the vernier engines, the upper stages are ejected. The upper stages continue accelerating the payload on the specified trajectory. Operating in mostly the near-vacuum of space, these upper stages have a high thrust efficiency. Eventually, the desired trajectory and velocity are attained and the payload is released to continue on its chosen path. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Chapter 4 – Support Equipment An array of equipment is needed to support a launch operation. A launch site is a remote location which likely does not have power, water and other facilities. Therefore, it is necessary to bring adequate support equipment to that site. This section will detail some of that equipment. Launch Stand Microlaunchers are stabilized rockets with full pitch, roll and yaw control authority once the first stage motors are ignited. Therefore, a launch rail is not required to guide them as they ascend. However, it is useful to have a blast deflector and propellant feed capability at the launch location. Therefore, a purpose-built launch pad with a propellant feed boom is highly desirable. The launch pad will facilitate preparation for launch, guide feed cables and hoses to the vehicle and ensure that the vehicle is not toppled by strong winds. Access Towers Although explicit launch towers are not required, some means to comfortably access upper stages of these vehicles for the purposes of assembly and testing will be required. These towers may be similar to those used by painters. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Cranes or Winches Although a full crane may not be required, some kind of winching system allowing the raising of system components to their necessary heights is required. This may be a hand- or motor-operated winching system which attaches to the access towers or it could be a rentable hydraulic platform such as a scissor lift. LOX Storage and Transportation Each Microlauncher ML-1 vehicle uses about 220 lbs of liquid oxygen plus additional liquid oxygen for propellant conditioning. This liquid oxygen will likely be delivered in cryogenic dewars of the type shown here. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL If more than one vehicle is launched per day, as is planned, several times more liquid oxygen will be required. Therefore, there will likely be a need to maintain a few dewars of liquid oxygen on site for a launch campaign. Propane and Butane Storage Each ML-1 vehicle requires approximately 80 lbs of propane and about 20 lbs of butane. Since neither propane nor butane need to be maintained at cryogenic temperatures, they will likely be stored in portable pressurized tanks. Safety Equipment Since a launch site may be remote without emergency services immediately available, it will be necessary to transport some safety equipment to the launch site for each launch campaign. Fire Fighting Equipment Since the launch system utilizes highly flammable and fire-inducing gases, there is a potential for fires to occur under certain situations. Therefore, suitable firefighting equipment will be necessary. The primary threat will be from liquid oxygen and liquefied propane. Together, these constitute an extreme fire hazard. However, it is likely that these will be present together only during the last minutes of the preparation for launch and during launch. However, sufficient firefighting equipment able to deal with on-site fire problems must exist. Sufficient equipment to extinguish any fires created in the area surrounding a launch site such as grass fires, brush fires, and possibly tree or structure fires must be available. Medical Equipment The launch sites will likely be remote: either on a barge at sea or at some remote land site. Therefore, there is a need for basic medical equipment. Additionally, since a rocket vehicle crash is also a possibility, suitable equipment for dealing with possible injuries from fires and life-threatening hazards should also be available. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Communications Equipment Radio communications must be provided to allow remote communications between launch personnel. Additionally, communications equipment to maintain flight management/termination must also exist. Cell phone capability, or some similar capability, to contact fire and medical emergency services is also necessary. Shelter Some kind of shelter, in the form of tents and canopies will likely be required to minimize heating of people and equipment and to protect them from such things as rain and/or snow. These will also serve as temporary storage locations leading up to a launch. Transportation Since the launch site may be remote, certainly remote from the manufacturing and assembly site, there will be a need to transport the boosters, upper stages, payloads, and all other equipment to the remote site. It is not necessary to own all of the transportation resources; many of them can be rented or leased for a specific campaign. These may consist of flat-bed or enclosed trucks similar to U-Haul or Ryder trucks. Stage Carriers Specialized carriers will be required for transporting the rocket stages and payload. These will likely be purpose-built canisters to carry rocket vehicles in. These are similar to those that are currently used by military services, but used in this non-military application. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Power Generation A portable generator (or generators) will be required to support the launch preparation effort. For an isolated camp with several people, tents, lighting, tools and equipment, a generator able to supply upwards of 20 KW may be necessary. This may be rented or leased for the duration of a given launch campaign. Lights Portable lights will be necessary for illuminating the launch preparation area should work be required at night. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A – Vehicle Statistics The following tables illustrate the vehicle weight and performance statistics PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

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