Launcher Orbiter is the new universal orbital transfer vehicle and satellite platform, created by Launcher to be compatible with both Launcher Light and SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare flights. As we have come to know Launcher as one of the heaviest adopters of additive manufacturing for its vehicle components’ production, it should come as no surprise that Orbiter will also feature a number of internally 3D printed parts.
For propulsion, Launcher will use the internally designed and produced chemical propulsion module with a low-cost, 3D printed propellant tank, combustion chamber, and injector. Propellants consist of Ethylene and N2O for safe fueling and ease of ground operations. The first flight will feature approximately 500 m/s of delta-V capability to modify orbit as needed with transfer times measured in minutes, rather than weeks. Additional delta-V can be added through Launcher’s modular tank system.
Orbiter is interoperable with either launch vehicle via a common 24-inch ESPA Grande adapter ring and is contracted to make its inaugural flight to sun-synchronous orbit via SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission in October 2022. The vehicle can carry up to 150 kg of customer satellite payload in a modular stack of CubeSat deployers.
The Orbiter system also be configured to accommodate small satellite payloads directly on an integration surface compatible with small satellite separation systems. It is equipped with Launcher’s signature combination of high-performance, low-cost, high-thrust chemical propulsion that allows customers to customize their payload orbit according to their mission needs.
“Orbiter delivers the best of both worlds: the ability to maximize and tailor launch opportunities for your constellation using SpaceX’s rideshare program, as well as the option to design additional complementary missions on a small, dedicated Launcher rocket when orbit requirements or schedules dictate,” said Launcher Founder and CEO Max Haot. “Customers benefit from working with the same partner, mission team, contract, qualification and regulatory processes, satellite interface, and orbital transfer vehicle hardware and software platform.”
With Orbiter, small satellite constellation developers will be able to take advantage of the rapid cadence and unprecedented price point of the SpaceX rideshare program to build their constellation at optimum cost and timing. To complete their constellation with additional orbits and schedules, customers can purchase a launch service using Orbiter for a dedicated ride to orbit on Launcher Light, Launcher’s own small orbital launch vehicle, slated for its first flight in 2024.
The company also officially inaugurated the new facility 24,000 sqft Launcher HQ & factory in LA. The 20,000 sqft factory floor, with 2,000 amps of power is already up and running with a number of industrial machines including VELO3D metal 3D printers.