Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Eglin to test F-15 satellite launch

The Pentagon's research agency plans its first in-air test to launch satellites from the underside of an F-15 fighter jet from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., later this year. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to begin the initial flight-test phase of its Airborne Launch Assist Space Access program (ALASA) in a series of 12 orbital flights that would start in early 2016. The first three orbital launches are engineering checkout payloads, said Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. Under the ALASA military space project, once the F-15 gets to a designated altitude, the rocket releases over the Atlantic Ocean and ignites, carrying its payload into orbit. ALASA’s goal is to make launching small payloads less expensive and more efficient. (Source: Space.com 02/10/15)