Terms of use of this site and your privacy

 

 

 

  • This site does NOT use cookies.
  • You will not be tracked by us.
  • You will not be used by us to generate advertising revenue.
  • If you join up with us, we will not sell or give your personal details you store on our site to any other person or organisation.
  • If, having joined, you use the Forum, please be reassured that submitted content is always moderated.

 The Spacefleet Team

 

Spacefleet Ltd is a UK-based company that is aiming to provide a space transport service to take users' payloads to orbital and sub-orbital space. This website is a shop window for the Spacefleet projects and sales, and it is also a growing community site for space enthusiasts, with a "Space News" section, where you can submit your own articles, and a discussion forum (coming soon). Please join!

The very-long-term aim: To end up with an organisation that will provide space transport services on a commercial, but international basis. as the visionary writer, Arthur C Clarke once proclaimed: "We will take no frontiers into space!".

In addition we will offer, at some point this year, a crowd-funding opportunity, to enable the EARL development to continue, firstly, to complete the EARL-D4 demonstration system, then a large vehicle for commercial sub-orbital flights. If we are then able to find funding from private sources, or business grants, then  we can progress to an orbital access service.

It can be done, and you can be part of it.

Spacefleet sub-orbital space tourism concept vehicle


Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Note: Unlike some space projects you may see around the web with flashy web sites but no hardware built and no actual progress, the Spacefleet projects have real hardware, for the EARL, Dart and PDRE projects. Admittedly, the Spacefleet company is, indeed, being run from a residential property in the UK, but we have an associate in Romania with a workshop dedicated to our projects. When we have enough funding we will be able to expand into business premises in the UK and elsewhere, and start employing people and building the company. Before we can do that, we have to be able to take the critical step in providing a sub-orbital launch service, which we will do.


 

 

 

 

Why does space launch cost so much, while air flight is so cheap? Think how much it would cost you to travel on an Airbus or Boeing, etc, if the whole aircraft were to be scrapped on its first flight. Only millionaires could afford tickets. That's what happens with space launchers.

Until very recently, their first stages have been dumped in the ocean, and the upper stages and fairings left in orbit as space junk. Even now, there is only one  launcher with a re-usable first stage. The upper stages and fairings are still lost on every launch. It's a massive waste of money and materials, and it has been going on since 1957.

The Spacefleet project is aiming to bring the cost of space launch down, by the use of completely-reusable vehicles - no stages or other parts to throw away and add to the blizzard of space junk up there in orbit. Furthermore, when, as we plan, the whole vehicle goes into orbit, we can use it to bring orbiting satellites and space junk back to the ground.

Spacefleet Ltd is a small UK company that has started this effort by developing a space-capable rocket-powered UAV, or "drone". It will be capable of taking small payloads up above the atmosphere into space. On May 5th, 2018, we tested a small-scale "boost-glide" demonstrator, the EARL-D4, which flew up to 4 km height, before gliding down to the ground, under programmed automatic control.
 

EARL-D4 taking off at a site in eastern Romania

 

We now need to make changes to build a more aerodynamic hull, the EARL-D4 MkII (see below). With improved solid propellant, or a liquid-propellant rocket motor, and a more aerodynamic hull, we expect the EARL-D4 Mk II to reach 30 km or more.

EARL-D4 Mk II. New hull concept art

We have also designed it to enable the attachment of winged booster hulls, arranged in "sandwich" form. Using these, the main hull could ascend to 60-75 km, nearly into space. With an increase in scale of 2-3 over the existing dimensions, we would have a functional sub-orbital space drone that could take payloads into space and bring them back to a designated landing point, which could also be the take-off location.

At the present stage of development, "can-sat"-sized  payloads could be taken to the stratosphere. Initially, apogees will be around 12km to 15 km, but could be increased to 30 km with more energetic propellants.

We are also constructing a small-scale "space dart" two-stage vehicle, which will be able, initially, to take small payloads up to around 25 km apogee. A successful Dart launch was carried out in Romania recently, in December 2019. Estimates from the sightings suggest the Dart vehicle ascended to 25-30km before coming down in the Black Sea, along with the booster which separated successfully from the upper stage. Unfortunately, no data was received from the third party experiment which was on-board the launch vehicle.

Taking EARL into orbit

The "sandwich" or "triamese" arrangement of main hull and booster hulls can be used to take an EARL hull into orbit, if suitably scaled up. This concept was studied and found to be valid, by the British Aircraft Corporation in the mid -1960s.

Scaled-up EARL concept vehicle for orbital transport

It is a workable aerodynamic alternative to the SpaceX vertical return and rocket-powered deceleration technique, and in use is much like the Space Shuttle - but re-usable.

If you would like to know more about this project, or you are interested in-:

  • sending small experiments (can-sat format) to the upper atmosphere for micro-gravity or atmospheric measurements
  • using our solid-propellant rocket motors, e.g. 120mm  diameter motor, 750kg thrust for 6 seconds, also 31 mm diameter motor 50 kg thrust, for 2 sec. Better performance with different propellant is possible. Motors are re-useable. New motors can be custom-designed to your requirements
  • rocket propulsion and space technology education and training

then, please ask for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.