Balloon-launched rocket as step toward orbiting smallsats.
Credit: Zero 2 Infinity

 

Talk about get up and go!

Zero 2 Infinity of Barcelona, Spain has successfully launched its first rocket from the edge of space.

“This milestone opens the door for safer and more efficient space access for small satellites,” the group explains in a press statement.

Controlled ignition

The March 1st flight began a few miles off the Spanish coast with launch of the rocket-carrying balloon.

After the balloon soared to 16 miles (25 kilometers) altitude — more than twice the cruising altitude of commercial airplanes – the controlled ignition of the first Bloostar prototype took place, initiated from the facilities of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) in El Arenosillo (Huelva, Spain).

Mission goals

According to the group, the goals of the mission were:

  • validation of the telemetry systems in space conditions
  • controlled ignition
  • stabilization of the rocket
  • monitoring of the launch sequence
  • parachute deployment
  • sea recovery

All these goals, Zero 2 Infinity notes, were achieved in full.

Credit: Zero 2 Infinity

Smallsat launcher

The mission carried out this month is part of the development of Bloostar – a small satellite launcher that makes use a stratospheric balloon as a first stage.

By initiating the rocket ignition from above airspace, the targeted orbit can be reached “with expediency and efficiency,” the group claims.

“This patented technique is less risky than any systems used until now. The rocket-powered phase starts already from above 95% of the mass of the atmosphere, getting there with no polluting emissions. Besides the environmental angle, this new method lets Zero 2 Infinity launch satellites with more flexibility (2 weeks notice), at a drastically lower cost and more often than ever before,” explains the organization’s press statement.

Credit: Zero 2 Infinity

 

Bloon…ing!

Zero 2 Infinity adds that they have already gathered Letters of Intent for future launches.

At the moment, the group is working on sending small satellites into orbit through its project Bloostar and has mid-term plans to send people to near space for science and leisure, an effort tagged project Bloon.

Check out this video, published on March 13, 2017, of the Zero 2 Infinity launch of its first rocket, a Bloostar prototype, from near space:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMYR-15EVOI&feature=youtu.be

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