Wickman Spacecraft & Propulsion Company (WSPC) started working on low cost access to Space in the early 1990’s before other companies realized this would be the driver for Space exploration and settlement. WSPC realized that mass produced materials, equipment and electronics could be used to produce major cost reductions in sounding rockets and launch vehicles. They were the first company to develop the technology to use low cost, commercial grade materials in solid rocket motors and even liquid propulsion. WSPC is developing sounding rockets and launch vehicles that use commercial electronics, equipment and materials.
The second half of cost reduction is reducing the amount of labor to produce the vehicle. WSPC is developing new fabrication methods for chambers, nozzles and vehicle parts that would reduce assembly labor and machining costs. These new production methods are the corner stone of WSPC’s low cost Small Launch Vehicle. This new vehicle has been costed out at $3.6 million to produce with only single digit production numbers. With launch range costs, this SLV can put 2,000 lbs into LEO for under $5 million.
WSPC is developing a new rocket guidance system with commercial components and electronics to be used on a new series of sounding rockets. With an accurate guidance system, extreme high altitudes can be achieved on launch ranges that current unguided sounding rockets can only dream of. These new sounding rockets will combine this new guidance technology with WSPC’s low cost fabrication techniques and commercial materials to produce a new, low cost sounding rocket alternative for researchers.
During the last decade, NASA generated a preliminary design for a new hypersonic vehicle with incredible performance potential based on a new thermal protection material. It was called “SHARP” by NASA. WSPC originally under contract to NASA to fly subscale versions of this new vehicle is now pursuing this abandoned NASA dream on its own. WSPC engineers have redesigned the vehicle for initial flight as a hypersonic transport and bomber. This design will then evolve into an reusable orbital vehicle.
WSPC has designed a low cost launch vehicle for putting into LEO 2,000 lbs for under $5 million per launch. Click here for more information.
A space plane based on NASA’s SHARP thermal protection system, which enables sharp edges on reentry vehicles. Click here for more information.
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