iRocket – a New York based startup building autonomous small reusable rockets – has signed a Phase II RAPID Other Transaction Agreement contract with the U.S. Air Force to transport micro, nano, cube, and other satellite constellations to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites on its Shockwave launch vehicle. The company had previously received a Phase I contract with the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Shockwave will be a fully autonomous, fully-reusable, two-stage launch vehicle – consisting of two stages to orbit, with the first and second stage landing back on the launch site. It will provide inland launch capabilities to the Department of Defense and be mission-capable of launching within 24 hrs. The iRocket Shockwave launch vehicles are intended to carry a payload with maximum size of around 1,500 kg (around 3,300 lbs) . The first launch is scheduled in just under three years’ time, with a plan to begin offering on-orbit satellite servicing as one of its products by the year 2025. It is expected to launch from Launch Complex 48 of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“iRocket is on a mission to help end the ‘digital divide’ by delivering high-speed internet satellites to LEO, carry experiments for biotech companies that are conducting cancer research in microgravity, to support IoT constellation customers and National Security Missions,” says iRocket CEO, Asad Malik.