Boeing to Explore Airborne Satellite Launches for DARPA

[Satellite TODAY 06-04-12] Boeing has been awarded an 18-month, $4.5 million study contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to evaluate technologies for on-demand small satellite launch systems, the manufacturer announced June 1.

   The Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) award contracts Boeing to analyze affordable, aircraft-based satellite launch platforms that can quickly deploy small satellites or payloads. The goal of ALASA is to generate a minimal threefold reduction in costs compared with current military and U.S. commercial launch costs.
   “We will apply experience from across Boeing in aircraft and launch system development and operation, as well as our proven rapid prototyping skills, to offer an innovative analysis to support this important DARPA mission,” Boeing Director of Advanced Space Exploration Steve Johnston said in a statement. “ALASA will expand our knowledge of launch system solutions that can be integrated into existing operational aircraft with minimal modifications.”

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