ABL Space Systems announced that is has been selected as the launch provider for the NASA Cryogenic Demonstration Mission. Developed under a NASA Tipping Point contract awarded in 2020, the Cryogenic Demonstration Mission will launch in 2023 and demonstrate in-space transfer of cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2), the most challenging but highest-performing propellant for lunar and deep space exploration.

The interior of the first stage of the first RS1 rocket. ABL Space Systems plans to launch its RS1 rocket for the first time by the end of the year from Alaska. Credit: ABL Space Systems

The mission will help demonstrate numerous novel cryogenic propellant management technologies and help forge a path to sustainable Artemis operations on the moon and beyond.

In support of the mission, ABL will leverage the flexibility of the GS0 deployable launch system, which is purpose-built to rapidly activate new launch sites and support unique customer missions.  The GS0 functionality will be extended to meet NASA’s mission need for LH2 operations.  ABL will also advance RS1 with hydrogen-compatible fairing and payload support systems.

This selection marks ABL’s first NASA science mission award and 60th mission contracted with the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin.

Dan Piemont, President of ABL Space Systems, stated:

“We do a lot of work at ABL focused on serving our customers’ needs in the immediate future. Science missions like this let our team look further out onto the horizon and contribute to NASA’s long-term roadmap of human exploration of the solar system. This cryo demo is a great example of the unique science missions enabled by low-cost, dedicated launch, and we’re happy that RS1 was chosen.”


About ABL Space Systems

Founded in 2017, ABL develops low-cost launch vehicles and launch systems for the small satellite industry. ABL is headquartered in El Segundo, California, U.S.


Courtesy of ABL Space Systems