SpaceLoft-6 Launch to Test Operationally Responsive Space Technology

This week’s planned launch of the SpaceLoft-6 sounding rocket from Spaceport America in Upham, N.M., is meant to demonstrate a number of key technologies for future Defense Department operationally responsive space missions. The SpaceLoft XL rocket will carry seven payloads during its 13-minute, 70-mile-high trek, which is currently scheduled for Thursday. Among them is the Florida Institute of Technology-designed Global Positioning Metric Tracking System to record the position of the rocket throughout its flight, said Peter Wegner, director of the Pentagon’s ORS office at Kirtland AFB, N.M. There is also a low-cost camera demonstrator and a NASA “DroidSat,” built off the Android phone technology, to record the separation events on the rocket, he said. “This is important to us because the ORS-3 mission scheduled for next year has 17 different payloads that will separate off that rocket during its trajectory,” stated Wegner. (Kirtland release by Michael P. Kleiman)