An Alabama-based aerospace company plans to offer small space payload launches every 180 minutes using an unmanned aircraft system called Ravn. Unlike existing launch vehicles, which are used to carry payloads into space, Aevum’s Ravn system is designed to operate like a commercial aircraft, reducing the turnaround time from landing to the next takeoff to anywhere between 30 and 80 minutes.
Information comes from Aevum CEO Jay Skylus, who recently told Space.com that the company’s Ravn system is “designed to launch every 180 minutes.” This is compared to the months it can take to prep existing launch vehicles. A key part of the system is its unmanned technology, as well as its ability to use any standard runway.
The system is not only autonomous from takeoff to landing, but requires as few as half a dozen people on the ground. The company plans to offer its customers access to the space delivery system through means similar to group shipments: by email, calling, or using a Web app. The company’s focus, for now at least, appears to be launching small satellites into space.
Development is still underway, with Aevum planning to start flight testing next year. The company is moving quickly, eyeing a trio of launches scheduled for the end of 2019, assuming the testing is successful. Per Aevum’s website, the company claims Ravn is the world’s smartest launch vehicle.