Start small, test, refine, then scale.
Reusability is crucial. No overhaul or refurbishment, just gas and go.
We are starting small. This is the fastest and most cost effective way to develop a vehicle. Sub scale development gives us an extremely rapid design>build>fly>refine iteration cycle. We can conduct a dozen flight tests in a day. What other rocket based system has ever been able to achieve that?
Our recoverable, reusable system allows for a development and iteration cycle absolutely unachieved in any other aspect of rocket development.
Leverage operational and regulatory frameworks
Relatively simple operations and low airspace disruption allow for much greater scaling than traditional rocket operations. There are thousands of runways worldwide, but only a handful of launchpads.
New Zealand offers an environment unparalleled for operational development. A favourable regulator with international partnerships, along with relatively uncrowded skies allows us to fly further, faster than anywhere else.
Our vehicles, step by step
MK-1 vehicle. This is the smallest scale at which we can achieve rocket propulsion on an aircraft. This vehicle is used to refine all systems from the MK-0 as well as develop. This program is currently in progress:
Improved vehicle telemetry and up/downlink capability
Reusable rocket propulsion system
CAA Part 102 operations certificate
MK-2 vehicle. This will build on the MK-1 vehicle with a substantially higher performance airframe, engine and control systems. Work will begin Q3 2018 with the first flight scheduled for 2020.
MK-3 and 4 vehicles. These will be orbital vehicles, adding a second stage to the MK-2 vehicle.