Space Commerce

NASA’s SL-8 Rocket Becomes Spaceport America’s 20th Launch

By Keith Cowing
November 12, 2013
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NASA’s SL-8 Rocket Becomes Spaceport America’s 20th Launch
SL-8 Rocket
Spaceport America

New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced the launch today of the second NASA “Flight Opportunities Program” rocket from Spaceport America.
The public launch of SpaceLoft(TM) XL 8 (SL-8), which was designed to reach sub-orbital space, took place this morning from Spaceport America’s Launch Complex-1.

Today’s liftoff marks the 20th launch at Spaceport America and the 12th flight conducted by UP Aerospace, a long-term spaceport long term customer.

The successful launch of NASA’s SL-8 commercial-space, researchpayload rocket took place at approximately 9:15 AM (MDT), which was within the dedicated 2.25-hour launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 116 km or 72.2 miles. The parachute recovery system brought the SpaceLoft(TM) rocket and its payload safely back and it was recovered intact 40 km approximately 25 miles downrange on White Sands Missile Range as planned.

“It is great to have NASA back at Spaceport America and to have the opportunity to support their second ‘Flight Opportunities’ sub-orbital launch today,” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson. “We also want to congratulate UP Aerospace, who has been launching with us since the beginning, on their 12th launch from the spaceport.”

The SL-8 sub-orbital sounding rocket, provided by UP Aerospace, is part of the NASA “Flight Opportunities Program,” which is designed to provide sub-orbital payload launch resources for NASA and other government agencies, as well as for educational institutions and the private sector. Some of the “Flight Opportunities” payload customers for this launch include: New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, FAA, NASA, SatWest and the Department of Defense.

Payload integration services for today’s SL-8 launch were provided by Schafer Corporation of Albuquerque, NM.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.