Tukwila-based Andrews Space, which develops commercial space systems, has been awarded an eight-year contract with an upper limit of $250 million to fund ground and flight experiments and demonstrations in support of the Air Force's proposed Reusable Booster System.
Andrews Space was founded in 1999 and it produces flight qualified components and subsystems for small and nanospacecraft, including nanospacecraft bus, integrated avionics, reaction wheels, control moment gyros, as well as integrated satellite simulators. Meanwhile Andrews supply technical services with rapid prototyping and hardware development for time critical projects.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is studying Reusable Booster System (RBS) technologies and operations concepts for a future operational system. Air Force officials envision an RBS that includes a reusable rocket and an expendable upper stage rocket. The reusable rocket would be taken off vertically and return, landing aircraft style on a runway, after carrying the space craft to a point where the expendable rocket could take over.
RBS Pathfinder is part of the technology. It is a subscale vehicle that will be used to demonstrate key operational attributes of the rocket-back maneuver as well as explore the flight envelope of an operational RBS vehicle.
As part of this award, Andrews has been selected to conduct RBS Pathfinder concept design maturation, an effort valued at just under $2 million.
Under the Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, Andrews will firstly initial design of the RBS Pathfinder system. Then they will complete work to conduct flight and ground experiments and demonstrations to address key technologies, processes and system attributes (TPSAs) associated with the RBS concept.
Andrews employs 30 people at its headquarters and a rapid prototyping laboratory of 10,000 square feet just south of Boeing Field. They are equipped with the Dimension Elite 3D printer from Stratasys, Inc. and offering 3D printing services for aerospace companies in modeling includes launch vehicles, component parts such as nozzles, engines and satellites.
By using the Rapid Prototyping Process Andrews can develop subscale and full scale mockups within a few weeks for a wide range of systems, including the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, cargo logistics vehicles, and other systems.
Rapid Prototyping Laboratory
Ballute designed, integrated and tested in-house
Full scale engineering mockup of the Orion Parachute Recovery System and forward end of the capsule.
Full-scale engineering mockup of 5.4m diameter Orion CEV capsule (exterior)
(photo credit: Andrews Space)
Chief Executive Jason Andrews said the company anticipates hiring to complete this contract, "with more growth planned for follow-on tasks."
Video: Andrews Space Peregrine reusable launch vehicle
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