zero2infinity bloostar launch vehicle will launch nanosatellites

Launching a satellite is a very expensive proposition when done the traditional way by hitching a ride aboard a commercial rocket. There are several firms out there that are working to make putting satellites into orbit cheaper and one of them is the Barcelona based zero2infinity company. Zero2infiity is known for near-space ballooning and has announced that it has been working on a launch vehicle capable of putting nanosatellites into orbit.

Currently, the firm routinely takes scientific and commercial payloads to altitudes of over 30km via balloons. Plans for launching small satellites will use these high altitude balloons as the first stage for a nanosatellite launcher. Zero2infinity says that the tech to launch nanosatellites without having to hitch a ride with other missions doesn't yet exist, but it has been working on its so-called orbital rockoon as a solution to this issue.

The rockoon concept is interesting in that the craft would not need to travel through the more dense parts of the atmosphere and would ignite only in the low pressure, near-vacuum part of the atmosphere. This means that there will be less drag and gravity to fight so the ship can be smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

Bloostar's simplicity would enable cheaper small satellite launches and its smaller size means less pollution to the atmosphere as well. The first stage of the launch vehicle uses helium and batteries with the launch vehicle igniting when it is past 99% of the atmosphere, resulting in less propellant required for launch. It's unclear when the system will be ready for its first satellite launch; the company is aiming for sometime in 2017. Zero2infinity has $200 million in pre-sales from nanosatellite firms.

SOURCE: Bloostar