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MANIFEST Launch # Launch Vehicle Payload Orbit Date Outcome 1 Fluon TESTsat 1 & 2 LKO Q3 Y1 Success 2 Fluon GravSat 1-3, TurkeySat PKO Q2 Y2 Success 3 Fluon-Kurie PorcupineSat EKO Q1 Y3 Planned 4 Fluon-Kurie SAC-1 SSO Q2 Y3 Planned 5 Fluon GravSat 4-5 PKO Y3 Planned Kerbin Lab was founded 8 years ago by Beck Kerman with the simple goal of making space more accessible. He nearly immediately began development of the Fluon launch vehicle. The Fluon launch vehicle is now nearing completion. Fluon is a brand new smallsat launcher. Able to lift 400kg into orbit, Fluon will be useful to wield many light payloads, such as QBE-Sats or similar technologies, on one launch, reducing costs significantly. 1.25 meters wide and 15.5m tall, it's not meant to be large, however, it still can deliver for many purposes. It is currently in the late development stages, and we expect to launch within the next 3 months. We just did a full duration burn of the first stage on the pad, testing out critical ground equipment and flight hardware. Testing first stage core at the Woomerang launch facility. (Kerbin Lab) The static fire proceeded nominally, although there were some issues delaying the test from its initial start time. We are currently targeting our first launch in about 3 months, with the payload being 2 QBE-Sats. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR PAYLOAD ON A FLUON! HERE'S HOW: Payload: [payload name] Mass: [payload mass; must not exceed 400kg] Target Orbit: [orbit parameters] Rideshare: [Yes/No] Payload Link: [insert link of payload (preferably on KerbalX) here] Extra Notes: [could be anything]
This had been discussed on the forums a few years ago, but now ARCA (a rather odd company that doesn't seem to know what its market is) has released a glitzy CGI video of its "Haas 2CAJ" smallsat SSTO launcher. While the company's track record isn't very good, the combination of technologies and solutions in their idea seems solid enough. Here's a bunch of specs on it. It's a 16-meter-high smallsat SSTO burning RP-1 and HTP with a projected payload of 100 kg to LEO, using a rather large linear aerospike engine and a composite frame/tank with common bulkheads. Claimed launch price is just $1 million. As these things go, it's not a bad idea. HTP/RP-1 is about the only non-exotic prop combo with a higher impulse density than kerolox, and it also permits higher thrust than kerolox, which helps make up for the lower TWR of linear aerospike engines. It's pressure-fed, which would typically be the death knell for an SSTO, but since the linear aerospike engine doesn't require a high chamber pressure it's not a bad idea. Pressure-fed engines also typically have very poor tankage ratios, but the composite tanks can handle higher pressures. The pressurant is liquid helium that is passed through an engine heat exchanger, simultaneously cooling the big aerospike engine and saving on the weight of a turbopump, which further mitigates the low TWR of the aerospike. The linear aerospike allows for roll, pitch, and yaw authority through differential throttling alone, which saves on the mass of a gimbal system. The use of HTP comes with its own set of handling challenges, but it is cheaper than LOX, requires no insulation, and requires less demanding materials specifications than LOX. All in all, not a bad concept. Whether they will pull it off or not, I don't know. They fuss and fret over the horrors of staging, but honestly this could be very competitive if it was offered with the option of COTS parallel SRBs. Base configuration for smallsats, a couple of SRBs for larger LEO comsats, or a quad of SRBs for big LEO comsats or GTO smallsats. Better than trying to fuss with a second stage.