DARPA Looks for Cargo for the Launch Challenge Competition

DARPA plans to prove short notice launches can happen 1 photo
Photo: DARPA
As it becomes more and more obvious that the future of humanity acn be found in space, companies in the aerospace industry, be it private or state-backed, are looking for ways to drastically increase the number of launches they can perform.
Now that the floodgates of rocket reusability have opened, the next target is a fast turnaround to allow for an increase oin the number of payloads being taken to orbit or elsewhere.

On its part, DARPA is trying to accelerate things through the Launch Challenge, a competition aimed at demonstrating that launch capabilities on short notice can be in the benefit of the nation’s defense strategy.

DARPA says that it currently takes ten years to build, test, and launch a spacecraft. The competition is meant to show that, with enough exercise, payloads could be sent to orbit on extremely short notice, with no prior knowledge of the payload, destination orbit or launch site. And then do it again days later.

As per the regulations of the challenge, teams will receive a few days' notice to the first launch site. Following the first launch, they await info on the second location. All of this is supposed to take place at the end of next year.

Until then, in order not to waste several good rocket launches, DARPA said it is looking for organizations interested in having their payload sent up to near Earth orbit. Anything can go, from instrumented mass simulators to fully functional spacecraft, Cubesats and more, it has a weight of maximum 500 kilograms.

“Today, there is a backlog of payloads to be put into orbit,” said in a statement Todd Master, DARPA program manager.

“This is a call for potential payloads that will provide a mutually beneficial arrangement for both the spacecraft developers seeking launch services and the Launch Challenge competitors.The DARPA Launch Challenge provides a vehicle to connect these groups and get payloads on orbit in the next 18 months.”
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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