HyImpulse and In Orbit Aerospace signed a launch service agreement back in March 2022. In this agreement, the SL1 microlauncher of the company from Neuenstadt am Kocher (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) was to carry the full-scale model of In Orbit Aerospace into space. It has now been announced that the US company's unmanned, reusable space capsule will launch as a payload on its maiden flight.
Mass production and research in microgravity
In 2024, the time will come: SL1 (Small Launcher 1) from HyImpulse will fly into space for the first time. As with every maiden flight, the question remains as to which payload will be transported into orbit. Around 24 months before the launch, this has now been decided: it will be the (still?) nameless space capsule from In Orbit Aerospace. The startup, based in Los Angeles (California, USA), wants to use its products and services to enable mass production and research in microgravity. To this end, it aims to build the orbital infrastructure that will enable new and improved products to be developed and brought back to Earth. According to the company, the focus is on pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, fiber optics, 3D bioprinting, as well as metals and plastics. To achieve this goal, the "re-entry" space capsule developed by In Orbit Aerospace is compatible with many launchers, including HyImpulse's SL 1.
Into space with candle wax
With a length (over payload fairing) of 27 meters and a diameter of 2.2 meters, the Small Launcher SL1 is a so-called microlauncher. But the 3-stage rocket is said to be able to transport up to 500 kg of payload into orbit. The special feature here is the propulsion system, which is based on parafin and liquid oxygen (LOX) and is thus comparatively inexpensive. In addition, parts of the rocket are manufactured using 3D printing processes, among other things.