The PlanetSpace NOVA booster is a design based on the highly successful Soyuz Russian booster that supplies crew and cargo to the ISS today. By using the PlanetSpace Alchemy engine and the PlanetSpace Silver Dart, which is a lifting body based on the the US Air Force's Flight Dynamics Laboratory-7 (FDL-7) / X-24b which has a glide range of over 25,000 miles (one earth circumference). Test launches of system components can be expected early as development of these systems are already ongoing.
PlanetSpace is a partnership between Ontario's Geoff Sheerin (who has been developing the Canadian Arrow rocket for space tourism), and American space and technology entrepreneur Kathuria of Chicago (who was a founding director of the company that sent the first tourist into space). In 2006 the pair began negotiations with other players in the aerospace industry to build a facility and spacecraft they hope will eventually shuttle astronauts and supplies to the international space station.
The Silver Dart hypersonic glider has a hydrogen peroxide reaction control system (RCS) and a n Orbital Docking and Propulsion System (ODPS). Depending on mission requirements, various payload modules can be carried by the Silver Dart to orbit and returned for a runway landing. Silver Dart substructure is standard aircraft aluminum construction. All metal Thermal Protection System [TPS] allows the Silver Dart to land in all weather. Heat pipe cooled leading edges result in cooler upper surfaces. Rendezvous Sensors allow for approach and berthing at LEO test bed. GN&C for booster and Silver Dart. Docking Module can have any type of docking adapter on base for multiple missions. Base design uses current CBM. It is designed to operate as either an unmanned or manned spacecraft. Based on the FDL-7 design, which is stable in flight from mach 22 to 0, the Silver Dart has a glide range of 25,000 miles (one earth circumference) with a cross range of over 4,000 miles. The Dart is named for an aircraft that Alexander Graham Bell helped design and build - and which made Canada's first heavier-than-air powered flight in 1909.
The Silver Dart's launch vehicle consist primarily of a lower rocket engine and tank cluster consisting of six liquid-fueled strap-on boosters (1st stage), a core (2nd stage), and a 3rd stage. V-2 Rocket Engines provide 57,000lbs of thrust. Engines are pressure fed. Propellant Tanks include 3 for fuel and 3 for LOX. All tanks are connected through a common manifold system to balance propellant use. Helium Spheres for propellant feed to engines. Tank pressure system interconnected with all 6 first stage boosters. Thrust Vector for control provided by four center gimbaled engines with two outside engines for roll control of the first stage.
PlanetSpace submitted a proposal response to NASA's COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Phase 1 Demonstrations) request for proposals. PlanetSpace, working closely with its team mates Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, ATK, and the Bank of Montreal (Financial Advisor), diligently worked to put together this proposal for NASA. Available launch vehicle and spacecraft hardware provided assurance that a low-risk path is available for commercial-type space transportation. NASA's near term, ISS space cargo delivery requirements are driven by the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 and other space vehicle requirements placing an assortment of payloads in specific orbits.
PlanetSpace is moving ahead with plans to establish an orbital launch facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida, as well as the associated manufacturing, training, R&D, and integration facilities. PlanetSpace's proposed Florida economic activity could generate approximately 346 jobs annually with a cumulative economic impact to the State of Florida estimated to be $313 million. The launch, training, R&D and manufacturing facilities are to fulfill delivery of PlanetSpace's commercial launch business plan and will include any potential contractual effort under a Space Act Agreement with NASA for Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS).
ATK, the world's leading provider of solid rocket propulsion, is currently developing the first stage for NASA's Ares I launch vehicle and manufactures the Shuttle SRBs. Combining existing solid rocket boosters with minor upper stage enhancements provides a low cost launch capability paving the way for near term demonstrations. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, using it's vast interplanetary and autonomous spacecraft design, build, system integration, and mission operations experience, is developing the Orbital Transfer Vehicles (OTVs) for PlanetSpace. The OTVs include a modular cargo carrier and the Conestoga.
PlanetSpace, with headquarters in Chicago, is part of the new emerging space commercialization business. Teamed with major players in rocket booster and space craft development the company is set to take the lead in the commercialization of space. PlanetSpace is developing a broad spectrum of commercial space services that include Cargo and Crew to the ISS, Point-to- Point Global Travel, Space Tourism, Satellite Orbital Delivery and Escape Velocity Missions.
BMO Capital Markets ("BMO") is engaged as PlanetSpace's financial advisor for any acquisitions of the company as well as the placement of any debt and equity securities. BMO Capital Markets is a leading, full-service North American financial services provider offering corporate, institutional and government clients access to a complete range of products and services. These include equity and debt underwriting, corporate lending and project financing, merger and acquisitions advisory services, merchant banking, securitization, treasury and market risk management, debt and equity research and institutional sales and trading. With over 2,000 professionals in offices in 26 locations around the world, including 14 in North America, BMO Capital Markets works proactively with clients to provide innovative and integrated financial solutions. BMO Capital Markets is a member of BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO), one of the largest diversified financial services providers in North America with more than US$336 billion in total assets and 35,000 employees as of July 31, 2007.
On December 18, 2007 Space Florida, the principal organization charged by the Florida Legislature with promoting and developing Florida's aerospace industry, announced it had entered into a Teaming Agreement with PlanetSpace, offering support as they prepare and submit their proposal in response to the NASA COTS request for proposal. As Florida's aerospace economic development organization, Space Florida is uniquely positioned to utilize the expertise within the organization, and the powers available as defined within the Space Act. Space Florida's role is to guide and facilitate all organizations that seek assistance and actively engage in developing next generation space industry business in Florida.
PlanetSpace's consortium had also signed teaming agreements with Space Florida, United Launch Alliance, Wyle Laboratories, Paragon Space, and MEHTA Engineering.
On February 1, 2007 PlanetSpace Inc. of Chicago signed an agreement with NASA to cooperate and facilitate the commercialization of Low-Earth-Orbit as the company develops capabilities to transport goods and people to orbital destinations. The pact establishes milestones and objective criteria by which PlanetSpace can gauge its own progress, as part of the agency's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program. Under the agreement, NASA would share information to help PlanetSpace understand projected requirements for space station crew and cargo transportation, launch vehicles and spacecraft, and NASA human rating criteria. PlanetSpace would work to develop and demonstrate the vehicles, systems and operations needed to transport crews and cargo to and from a low-Earth orbit destination. NASA would acknowledge the companies' milestone accomplishments. PlanetSpace anticipated investing significant private capital towards its activities and completing the first demonstration flight by December 2009.
On Aug. 16, 2006 The Toronto Star reported that Nova Scotia has signed a "team agreement" to provide 300 acres of land - and perhaps even some funding - for a massive orbital launch facility that will involve industry giants and could eventually be on scale with huge NASA operations. "We're basically building a private manned space program for Canada," says Chicago's Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, chairman of the PlanetSpace firm that lit the fuse for this deal.
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