Industrial Launch Vehicle / Aquila / American Rocket [Amroc]
Chartering American Rocket [Amroc] in March, 1985, George Koopman and his colleagues researched and developed the first working hybrid rockets ever to be tested in the United States. That they managed to do this for only about $10 million over 4 years was a sterling example of how efficient free enterprise can be when allowed to work unfettered. It was also a tribute to George Koopman's driving spirit and to his desire to work for the attainment of his dreams. George Koopman wanted Amroc to be the Federal Express of space.
George Koopman, one of the cofounders of the American Rocket Co., and the president and chief executive officer of Amroc since its creation, died July 19, 1989, of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was 44. Mr. Koopman was an example of one of those people who have literally built America--the entrepreneur. It was Mr. Koopman's dream, and the dream of his fellow American Rocket Co. cofounders and financial backers, to found a company that would create affordable access to space.
AMROC officials affirmed that preparations for the company's first space launch, scheduled for August 14, 1989, would continue as planned. The sounding rocket SET-1 (Single Engine Test Flight#1), thrust 324,000N, was launched on October 5th 1989.
An extensive knowledge base was produced by American Rocket Company over its eight-year history. The technical rights, proprietary data and patents produced by AMROC were the result of over $20 million worth of hybrid rocket motor research. AMROC designed and hot test fired a wide variety of hybrid rocket motors of all sizes, utilizing non-toxic storable propellants. AMROC completed approximately 300 hybrid motor tests from 100 to 250,000 pounds of thrust.
In August 1998 SpaceDev, the world's first commercial space exploration company, acquired exclusive rights to intellectual property including the three patents originally issued to American Rocket Company (Amroc) for their hybrid rocket motor technology. In addition, SpaceDev acquired exclusive possession of and access to a large quantity of Amroc engineering documents, plans, designs, test results, manufacturing data, and other materials related to the rocket motors and Amroc launch vehicles.
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