Following our previous story about contenders for a small launch vehicle to fly cubesats under a NASA contract competition, a new contender has emerged: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. Like the other firms mentioned, Generation Orbit foresees a major market for nanosatellites/cubesats in the future and Generation Orbit recently won first place and a NASA provided prize of $100,000 in the 2013 NewSpace Business Plan Competition administered by the Space Frontier Foundation. The firm detailed a plan for a small two stage launch vehicle which would be air launched by a Gulfstream GIII business jet aircraft and be able to launch payloads of upto 40kg into Low Earth orbit (LEO).
The first stage of the “GOLauncher” launch vehicle would use solid propellants followed by a Liquid Oxygen (LOx/Kerosene liquid propellant fuelled upper stage provided by Ventions LLC. Ventions LLC was planning to field its own launch vehicle – albeit one with only a 15kg payload launched from the ground.
According to industry website and publication, Space News, the first launch of the craft for NASA will take place from the Cecil Field Spaceport,in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2016. Space News has a more detailed description of the plans for Go Launcher here.