“We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”
The goal at Eclipse Orbital can be summed up in one sentence: making space affordable and available to everyone. While our launch vehicle won’t get the record of smallest rocket to orbit it will get the record for best value and easiest to use by customers, which are very important milestones to achieve. With CubeSats becoming an ever-growing market it’s crucial that there are affordable options for anyone who wants to send something to space.
The Umbra is our full size hybrid engine for the Prominence boosters which will have two each, for a total of 4 Umbra engines per Corona launch. Each engine has a cast of solid HTPB and a tank of LOX.
Our first rocket to fly will be the 16’ prototype, the Umbraphile. Powered by one Umbra hybrid rocket motor, the purpose of this rocket is to promote our project and begin testing certain systems of the full size Corona vehicle. This rocket will be launched in the Nevada desert using parachutes to descend safely to the ground.
With two stages that are 85’ in height stacked together and 7’ in diameter, this orbital launch vehicle will be the best value ride to space and will create a shock wave in the aerospace community. This will be so affordable because the first stage of the Corona is reusable and will be paired with a new second stage for re-flight. The two Prominence boosters that accompany the center core on ascent will also be reusable, and will come to a runway landing after separation. We are partnering with MX3D to 3D print the frame of the rocket at a record-breaking low cost. We will be launching the Corona from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska in Q3 of 2020.
Our goal is to lower the cost of launches to space, and there is one thing that needs to change for the cost to go down, and that’s reusability. So far, SpaceX is the only commercial launch provider that has achieved sustainable reusability, and that trend needs to start spreading through to the rest of the industry or else the costs will remain in the hundreds of millions. In order to accelerate humanities reach into space, we need to reuse the hardware. SpaceX is pushing the heavy lift launch industry to really start trying to reuse their hardware, and we intend to have a similar effect on the small sat launch industry.
We will be 3D printing the frame of the Corona to decrease cost and production time. We are also looking into all of our engines being 3D printed as well, further lowering our build costs and leading to a much shorter time from raw material to flight capable rocket.