From: SpaceDev, Inc.
Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003
SpaceDev Propulsion Technology Spin-Offs From SpaceShipOne Program
SpaceDev announced today that it has created a propulsion program that includes the SpaceDev Streaker(TM) -- a low-cost small launch vehicle -- an orbital transfer space tug -- and other propulsion products based in part on SpaceDev's development of a hybrid rocket motor related to the SpaceShipOne vehicle announced by Scaled Composites ( www.scaled.com ) on April 18, 2003.
"SpaceDev is proud to be on the leading-edge of safe, affordable human space flight with its patented, safe hybrid rocket propulsion systems," said Jim Benson, founding chairman and chief executive of SpaceDev. "With the recent success of the SpaceDev-built CHIPSat high performance microsatellite, growing demand for responsive microsats and space control by the military, and the successful testing of our larger hybrid rocket motor under the SpaceShipOne program, SpaceDev is closer to accomplishing the comprehensive private space program and family of products we have been developing since our founding."
Over the last three years SpaceDev has worked to design a practical, expendable small launch vehicle named SpaceDev Streaker. SpaceDev Streaker will be capable of putting 1,000 pound payloads -- CAVs and one or more microsatellites -- into low earth orbit at a price expected to be less than existing or planned small launch vehicles.
The SpaceDev Streaker will use patented High Performance Mass Fraction(TM) hybrid common core boosters that will equal the performance of solid rocket motors and some liquid rocket motors while remaining safe, responsive and affordable. The rocket motors burn HTPB (tire rubber) and Laughing Gas (nitrous oxide), and will be augmented by existing technologies to produce performance significantly above traditional hybrid motors. Those boosters will form the base of a family of SpaceDev propulsion products, including sounding rockets, strap-on boosters, targets, payload accelerators, and for other commercial and military applications.
As part of this SpaceDev propulsion program, SpaceDev is designing and building a previously announced highly innovative and unique Shuttle- and EELV secondary compatible orbital transfer "space tug" under a contract with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). The SpaceDev MTV(TM) (orbital Maneuvering and orbital Transfer Vehicle) and the space tug both use hybrid rocket motors fueled by Plexiglas(TM) (PMMA) and Laughing Gas (nitrous oxide). A SpaceDev MTV can accelerate from zero to over 3,000 MPH in under four minutes. The SpaceDev space tug for AFRL will be capable of raising or lowering a small payload by hundreds of miles, while SpaceDev MTVs will be capable of raising and lowering payloads by thousands of miles.
"We expect the market for hybrid-based products to grow because of their low-cost and increased customer interest in safety, responsiveness and affordability," said Richard Slansky, chief financial officer for SpaceDev. "There are numerous emerging applications for this technology."
SpaceDev's high performance hybrid rocket propulsion, and its orbital maneuvering and orbital transfer technology, is of growing importance for space situational awareness, satellite inspection, counter measures, satellite rescue, refueling, small launch vehicle boosters and upper stages, and other applications, both commercial and military.
SpaceDev creates and sells affordable and innovative space products and solutions to government and commercial enterprises. SpaceDev products and solutions include the design, manufacture, marketing and operation of sophisticated micro and nano satellites, hybrid rocket-based orbital Maneuvering and orbital Transfer Vehicles (MTVs) as well as safe sub-orbital and orbital hybrid rocket-based propulsion systems. SpaceDev has been awarded contracts from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Boeing, California Space Authority (CSA), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Lockheed Martin, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), University of California at Berkeley (UCB) via NASA and several commercial customers. SpaceDev is also developing commercial hybrid rocket motors and small high performance space vehicles and subsystems. For more information, visit www.spacedev.com .
This news release may contain forward-looking statements concerning the Company's business and future prospects and other similar statements that do not concern matters of historical fact. Forward-looking statements relating to product development, business prospects and development of a commercial market for technological advances are based on the Company's current expectations. The Company's current expectations are subject to all of the uncertainties and risks customarily associated with new business ventures including, but not limited to, the level of sales to key customers; the economic conditions affecting our industry; actions by competitors; fluctuations in the price of raw materials; the availability of outside contractors at prices favorable to the Company; our dependence on single- source or a limited number of suppliers; our ability to protect our proprietary technology; market conditions influencing prices or pricing; an adverse outcome in litigation, claims and other actions, and potential litigation, claims and other actions by or against us; technological changes and introductions of new competing products; the current recession; terrorist attacks or acts of war, particularly given the acts of terrorism against the United States on September 11, 2001 and subsequent military responses by the United States; mission disasters such as the loss of the space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003 during its re-entry into earth's atmosphere; ability to retain key personnel; changes in market demand; exchange rates; productivity; weather; and market and economic conditions in the areas of the world in which we operate and market are products. The Company's actual results may differ materially from current expectations. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this release and to read it in conjunction with the Company's annual report on Form 10-KSB, including the consolidated financial statements filed therewith. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.
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