Dawn Aerospace Successfully Fly Mk-II Aurora, Rocket Powered Spacecraft

Dawn Aerospace Successfully Fly Mk-II Aurora, Rocket Powered Spacecraft
Dawn Aerospace Successfully Fly Mk-II Aurora, Rocket Powered Spacecraft

International Military - Dawn Aerospace completed its first series of rocket-powered spacecraft flights last week. The Mk-II Aurora, a small-scale version of the spacecraft made by Dawn Aerospace, conducted a flight test from 29-31 March 2023 at New Zealand's Gentanner Aerodrome.

Dawn CEO Stefan Powell said the initial testing was to validate key aviation systems and demonstrate the benefits of rapid reuse. During the first flight, the Mk-II Aurora consumed more fuel than expected due to a leak in the propellant system. The next day, Dawn engineers removed the Mk-II Aurora's engine, removed the oxidizer tank and found the leak. "It's pretty trivial to fix it, put it back together, and fly again," Powell told SpaceNews.

He added that this flight system has a different concept from ordinary rockets. This spaceship can be used on the same day, and if there is damage it can also be repaired on the same day.

Dawn Aerospace is a space transportation company based in New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States. The company funds spacecraft development with revenue from sales of small satellite propulsion systems, government grants, and investments. Dawn Aerospace raised $20 million in funding late last year.

Prior to its recent testing, Dawn Aerospace flew the Mk-II Aurora with a jet engine. The company announced March 24 certification from New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority to commence rocket-powered flights.

Dawn's goal was to operate the Mk-II Aurora like an airplane with several daily flights taking off and landing on the runway. "Demonstrating rapid reuse in the first test is a testament to our core philosophy, and confirmation that a rocket-powered vehicle can operate like a commercial jet aircraft," said Powell.

The tests this time weren't chasing speed or altitude on the initial flight, instead Dawn took an iterative approach to flight testing. The Mk-II was designed to reach an altitude of 20 kilometers. During initial flight tests, the vehicle flew about 2,000 meters and was traveling at a maximum speed of 315 kilometers per hour.

“We have to get to the limits of the Mk-II this year. Then it will move on to the next version of this aircraft,” said Powell. The next version, was the Mk-III, a two-stage spacecraft with an expendable second stage.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post