Boeing to study air-launch of satellites

June 1, 2012 at 11:01 AM

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., June 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. military is eyeing ways of launching small satellites on-demand from launchers aboard aircraft.

Boeing reports it will conduct an 18-month study of technologies for launching satellites with payloads of as much as 100 pounds under a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The award, under the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access contract, is worth about $4.5 million.

"We will apply experience from across Boeing in aircraft and launch system development and operation, as well as our proven rapid prototyping skills, to offer an innovative analysis to support this important DARPA mission," said Steve Johnston, director of Advanced Space Exploration for Boeing Phantom Works.

"ALASA will expand our knowledge of launch system solutions that can be integrated into existing operational aircraft with minimal modifications."

ALASA aims to develop a satellite launch system that is at least three times less costly than current launch costs.

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