Bringing Space Cargo Home: NASA awards SpaceWorks another test flight next month

Following a successful October launch, NASA rewards SpaceWorks with an encore in May 2022

ATLANTA, April 21, 2022 – On the heels of SpaceWorks’ successful Suborbital Test Vehicle (STV-2) mission last October 2021 in Madras, Oregon, NASA awarded the company with another STV flight scheduled for May 2022 at the same location.

“The October performance of our re-entry device (RED) exceeded our expectations. After dropping it from near space, our capsule landed within a football field of our intended location. That kind of accuracy is what the market needs for on-demand return of cargo and materials from space,”

said Tyler Kunsa, Program Manager for the RED projects at SpaceWorks.
Partially funded through NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, the October mission was featured on NASA’s website.

“Building on the successes of the October mission, the May test will continue to lay our groundwork needed for a cost-effective system of bringing high-value cargo back to Earth,”

said Dr. John R. Olds, CEO of SpaceWorks.
Why It’s Important
The space economy is estimated at 441 billion dollars annually. When conducted in space without the confines of gravity, experiments in materials, medicine and pharmaceuticals, fiber optics, computer chips, and other products have shown promise.
What this Means to Operations in Space
As one of the first commercial payload return services to enter the market, SpaceWorks’ RED capsules will offer the ability for space manufacturers and researchers to bring home priority cargo at lower cost, with greater frequency, and increased precision compared to existing down mass options.
How this Fits into NASA’s Mission
NASA employs a technology taxonomy to manage and communicate its technology portfolio. SpaceWorks STV-2 missions align with three areas within it:
  • TX09: Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) including Thermal Protection Systems, Aerodynamic Decelerators, Touchdown Systems, Modeling and Simulation for EDL and Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C).
  • TX15: Flight Vehicle Systems, including Modeling and Simulation for Flight.
  • TX17: Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C), including Onboard Navigation Algorithms.
About the NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Flight Opportunities Program, part of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, rapidly demonstrates promising technologies for space exploration and the expansion of space commerce through suborbital testing with industry flight providers. The program matures capabilities needed for NASA missions and commercial applications while strategically investing in the growth of the U.S. commercial spaceflight industry.
AboutSpaceWorks Enterprises
SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), based in Atlanta, GA, specializes in advanced concept analysis, systems engineering, product development, and economic consulting for a broad and diverse customer base. SpaceWorks is dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in the aerospace industry, from the early design phase to rapid prototyping and flight demonstration.
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