Rocket launch at 28k meters
Design Universe

Balloon & Rocket launch at 28k meters

A Spanish company wants to shoot small satellites with a three-stage rocket into space, which is the edge of the atmosphere and there detonated from a balloon. This should dramatically cut the cost.

Consumed in the first few minutes after launching a rocket, the satellite into space carries, 90 per cent of fuel. Must not be said is the founder of Zero2Infinity in Spain. Would launch the rocket on the edge of the atmosphere, the energy consumption would be much less. José Mariano Lopez-Urdiales, Chief of start-ups, with his team developed a combination balloon and rocket.

The balloon filled with helium carries the three-stage rocket to an altitude of 28 km. There, the first stage ignites. She wears the system at an altitude of about 300 km. The rest of the line, which leads to an altitude of 600 km, do the second and third stages. Each consists of several circular arranged burners. Initially, they stuck together and formed a slice in the middle is the payload. Natural gas is used as fuel.

Only four million euros to place the satellite on the orbit.

The first version of Bloostar, as the Spaniards call their home system, can carry up to a weight of 75 kg to an orbit micro-satellite. The premiere with a satellite on board is planned for the second half of the year 2018.

Each home will cost around four million euros. Lopez-Urdiales said the space Portal “Via Satellite”, there are letters of intent worth 240 million euros, to take advantage of the system already. The transport of large satellite will cost between 30 and 500 million euros. Often micro-satellites travel, for which incur only a fraction of the cost.

Boat as a space station for docking

A test run is planned for later this year, without any payload. It takes place in the Canary Islands. A boat or a barge, so a ship not self-propelled is intended as a space station. “From there, Bloostar almost every orbit satellites can bring”, says Lopez-Urdiales.

Strong winds that could drive off the balloon, there is rarely in this area. Should fail a start the payload by parachute would back float to Earth and can be recovered. Zero2infinity also remember to reuse the annular burner. That would cut the cost again.

Hundreds of micro satellites are already in operation

There are some 100 microsatellites weighing usually considerably less than 100 kg in operation. Unlike most satellites, which often weigh a ton or more, the small moon have usually only a single task, such as Tet and Biros, satellites of the German Center for air and space travel. Together, the two satellites form a mission to fire remote sensing (FireBIRD). In addition to forest fires also volcanic activity, gas torches, or industrial hot spots should be observed and documented.