Dawn Aerospace, a New Zealand-based aerospace company, has begun rocket-powered tests of its suborbital spaceplane, Aurora. The company aims to make space more accessible and affordable for scientific and commercial purposes with this innovative vehicle.
The Aurora space plane is a reusable suborbital vehicle that can take off and land horizontally like a traditional airplane. It has been designed to carry scientific payloads and perform experiments in microgravity environments, which are typically only accessible through expensive and infrequent rocket launches.
The rocket-powered tests of Aurora are a significant milestone in the development of the spaceplane. Dawn Aerospace performed the tests at a remote location in the South Island of New Zealand, using a rocket engine developed in-house by the company. The engine, called the Mk-II Peregrine, is capable of producing 5,000 pounds of thrust and has been designed to be reusable, further reducing the cost of spaceflight.
Dawn Aerospace’s Aurora Space Plane
During the rocket-powered tests, Aurora reached speeds of up to Mach 1.5 and an altitude of 7.5 miles (12 kilometers). The tests were successful, and the company plans to conduct further tests in the coming months to refine the spaceplane’s performance.
Dawn Aerospace believes that the Aurora space plane could revolutionize the way scientists and researchers access microgravity environments for experiments. The vehicle is designed to be affordable and reusable, making it an attractive alternative to traditional rocket launches. The company also sees potential for the Aurora to be used for commercial purposes such as space tourism and satellite launches.
The development of the Aurora space plane is a significant achievement for Dawn Aerospace and the New Zealand aerospace industry. The company has received support from the New Zealand government’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation, and has partnered with international organizations such as the France Aerospace Industry, European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center.
Dawn Aerospace’s Aurora space plane has begun rocket-powered tests, marking a significant milestone in the development of the innovative vehicle. The space plane has the potential to make space more accessible and affordable for scientific and commercial purposes, and its success could revolutionize the way we access microgravity environments for experiments.