ATLANTA, Georgia – A team of Generation Orbit (GO) engineers and technicians has returned from Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, following successful completion of an integrated vehicle propulsion system verification ground test campaign for the X-60A program.
The ground test campaign included both cold flow and hot fire testing with the Hadley liquid rocket engine developed by Ursa Major Technologies. Flight-like hardware was tested using flight-like operational procedures. The test runs covered full duration burns, engine gimbaling for thrust vector control, and system throttling.
“This was truly a remarkable accomplishment for our team,” said GO X-60A program manager, Dennis Poulos. “We understand the importance of the work we are doing, and we look forward to building on these successes and delivering a game-changing product to our customer.”
The goal of the X-60A program is to provide affordable and routine access to relevant hypersonic flight conditions for technology maturation. The X-60A vehicle is being developed by Generation Orbit under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division.
Barry Hellman, AFRL X-60A program manager, commented on the significance of achieving this developmental milestone:
“This test series was a critical step in reducing risk and gathering necessary system integration data in preparation for our upcoming flight tests,” Hellman said. “When we go to flight later this year, we hope to demonstrate the capability of the X-60A to provide affordable access to hypersonic flight conditions, which will position AFRL to deliver an innovative test capability for the Air Force and other DoD organizations.”
The X-60A vehicle is a single-stage liquid rocket primarily designed for hypersonic flight research. The system is launched from a modified business jet carrier aircraft and is capable of testing a wide range of hypersonic technologies including airbreathing propulsion, advanced materials, and hypersonic vehicle subsystems. The X-60A propulsion system utilizes liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to provide affordable and regular access to high dynamic pressure flight conditions above Mach 5.
During the upcoming flight tests based out of Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, FL, the X-60A will fly at relevant conditions necessary for technology maturation. Data will be collected to validate the overall vehicle design functionality as well as performance predictions.