ARCA unveils its Google Lunar X Prize rocket

by | Dec 23, 2008 | commercial launch services, exploration, Technology | 3 comments

ARCA haas rocket.jpg

credit: ARCA

The Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA) has unveiled its rocket for getting its Moon roaming European Lunar Explorer vehicle to the planetoid with engine tests planned for next year and a first flight in 2011

click on images in this blog post to see larger versions in the same browser windowNamed after an Austro-Romanian scientist you can read details of the new hybrid propulsion three-stage rocket that will be launched by balloon here and see a gallery of images of the launcher here

ARCA says its Haas is able to place 400kg (880lb) into a low Earth orbit of 200km (124miles) and that would see a 100kg vehicle sent on a Moon trajectory.

The rocket uses a pressure fed oxidiser, hydrogen peroxide, in composite tanks with a bitumen based solid fuel. The first stage has a 245s specific impulse with a large nozzle because of its high altitude baloon drop launch approach

ARCA Haas booster.JPG

credit: ARCA

I have to admit I haven’t been really following the Google Lunar X prize because we here at Flight do the truck, not the payload and I hadn’t seen any info on launcher choices from the prize’s competitors

I was guessing that they would use Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 or a Russian booster. If any group out there wants to talk to Hyperbola about their powered descent system we are all ears. ARCA has some tantalising details about a monopropellant descent rocket operating from a 10km altitude drop but there is very little detail

Its not obvious from the material ARCA has how their ELE vehicle will move across the lunar surface. If any of the Google Lunar X Prize teams have a designs for a lunar hopper Hyperbola would appreciate an exclusive interview about that

At the European Space Agency’s ministerial meeting in November it was announced that the Romanian government was seeking to join ESA

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