Meet the world’s first satellite launching drone. Ravn X was developed by Aevum, a U.S. based startup, and will be able to carry new payloads into orbit every 180 minutes. Ryan Morrison from DailyMail.com writes (abridged):
Aevum says the massive 80ft long drone, named the Ravn X, is fully autonomous, 70 per cent reusable, and can take off and land on runways as short as a mile long.
Come join our team in Jacksonville, FL and help us launch autonomous UAVs and orbital rockets! Tell us about you by sending your resume/CV to firstname.lastname@example.org with a professional statement and what it means to you to do work that matters.https://t.co/8QZGWLROjU
— Aevum (@aevumspace) September 18, 2019
Working in partnership with the US Space Force, the firm says it is ‘completely reimagining access to space’ by focusing on autonomy and better logistics.
The drone can take off from any runway to reach high altitude where it deploys a second stage that takes a small payload the rest of the way to space.
After it has launched the second stage rocket into low Earth orbit, the drone flies itself back to its home runway, lands and then parks up in its hanger.
The first launch of a satellite using the Ravn X is expected to be the US Space Force ASLON-45 small satellite launch mission in 2021.