The ERPS has also been looking at applications and uses for our engines, and have
developed several vehicles which represent an evolving system of developing design, assembly and flight experience.
Again, the Skunk Works "build a little, test a little" philosophy is used, limiting
the number of changes per vehicle so that designs can be readily optimized and failure points can be
The vehicles of our development program form a progression in size and capability:
The KISS vehicle, as the name would imply, is designed as a simple test base to
demonstrate ERPS capabilities in flight. Its name and engineering philosophy are to Keep
It Simple, Stupid, meaning it has the minimum of things required to get
it flying and nothing more. With the able assistance of an intrepid band of ERPS members, this single-engine,
hydrogen-peroxide monopropellant vehicle is scheduled to fly in mid-October of 2000. Its expected altitude
is about 3000 meters.
POGO is a small monopropellant vehicle designed to prove out guidance and flight control operations.
It's basically a flying pogo stick, going up and down (hopefully under control) repeatedly; hence its name.
Designed to be robust enough to handle hard landings and crashes from low altitude (10 feet), the vehicle
is powered by 4 monopropellant H2O2 engines developed by ERPS. The small, heavy steel tank holds only
8 gallons of peroxide, ensuring that even if everything locks in the open position, the vehicle can't stray
too far from the test pad.
Follow this link to see drawings of the Mark 0 POGO
, the non-flying Engineering
Mockup used for vehicle analysis and fine tuning.
is a small bipropellant vehicle designed to test flight control issues for reusable spacecraft.
It is a scaled-down version of the P.R.O.T.O.
SSTO vehicle and will be remotely piloted.
The vehicle test program is like that of an aircraft, with each test flight being an incremental extension of
the last. This "push the envelope" style of testing has proven very successful with aircraft and the
recent DC-X flights. The ReSOAR ("Re
esearch") vehicle is the first designed to fly into space using
this approach. The vehicle is capable of reaching altitudes in excess of 200km.
Black Magic is a small bipropellant vehicle designed to carry 4 people to 100km altitude and return
them safely to the Earth. The spacecraft is designed to be easily and quickly resupplied and relaunched to
demonstrate rapid turnaround and "aircraft-like" operations. Should the X-Prize actually get funded,
this vehicle could win it.
P.R.O.T.O. stands for Private Rocket to Orbit Tiny
Objects, a small Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) demonstration vehicle designed to carry a
20 lb satellite to at least 150 nmi high orbit in a single stage. Initial vehicles will be expendable, but only
small modifications would be needed to make this vehicle a fully reusable launch system.
The Alpha class of fully reusable spacecraft are designed to carry payloads of up to 3,000 lbs to
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a single stage and return for reuse and reflight in a "rapid turnaround"
environment. When equipped for passengers, the vehicle makes an excellent "executive transport"
which can take business passengers anywhere on the surface of the Earth in an hour or less.
The Bravo class fully reusuable SSTO spacecraft is the larger sister of the Alpha, having
a lift capability of over 7 tons. Bravo class vehicles will also be refuelable on orbit, allowing
direct delivery of cargo to higher orbits, geostationary Clarke orbits, or even to the surface of the moon.