OUR goal for opening the space frontier to more government organizations, commercial business, and academic institutions than ever before is driven by GOLauncher 2, the operational system providing dedicated launch opportunities to a variety of small satellite developers.
GOLauncher 2 is an air launched two stage rocket system capable of placing payloads of up to 100 pounds into Low Earth Orbit. GO offers a unique service to payloads in this mass class by providing a range of dedicated and rideshare launch opportunities to customer defined orbits. This flexibility offers an unprecedented advantage to micro and nano satellites seeking responsive access to space.
Payloads can be accommodated in three configurations:
Payload mass up to 100 lbm
A wide range of orbital parameters are capable:
Microsatellites typically range from 10 to 100 kg. At this scale, small spacecraft have the potential to deliver the improved operational capability, as well as lower total mission cost when compared to larger legacy satellite systems. Multiple microsatellites work together in a constellation to accomplish the tasks previously completed by a single satellite. In the case of remote sensing and Earth observation, this architecture provides improved temporal resolution while maintaining spatial resolution. However, specific orbits and precise phasing is required to establish an optimally distributed constellation. By reducing the cost for dedicated launch of small satellites, GOLauncher 2 will help to create new markets for real-time space-based data acquisition and dissemination.
The nanosatellite category spans a range of 1 to 10 kg. This category includes both single and multiple-unit CubeSats, as well as light spacecraft of generic form factor. Nanosatellites offer a bridge from the technology development role of small CubeSats to a scale where operation capability can take advantage of commercial off-the-shelf electronics and geometric standardization. The 1U form factor can be expanded into 3U, 6U, or larger while still taking advantage of the simplicity and cost effectiveness of the original standard. As more of these large CubeSats make their way to orbit, their ultimate utility as operational systems will depend on services like GOLauncher 2 that can provide affordable space access in a short period of time. Further, these small satellites are poised for evolution in terms of their capabilities, eventually being able to service interplanetary missions.
Just like the microprocessor revolutionized the computer industry, the CubeSat standard has the potential to spur that type of paradigm shift in the way satellites are designed, built, and operated. A single unit (1U) CubeSat is defined by a standard form factor (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) with a maximum mass of 1 kg. Applications for CubeSats have ranged from remote sensing and earth observation to biological experiments. However, the most prevalent uses of CubeSats to-date has been for technology demonstration and education. Some of these missions include solar sails, space tethers, and inflatable antennas. Finally, the simple, low-cost nature of the CubeSat further enables university and high school students to work with flight hardware in the classroom, with the potential to eventually see their work fly in space.