The Super Strypi Launcher will be built as part of a program by the U.S. Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office to demonstrate a new, low-cost launch capability for satellites weighing less than 661 pounds.
The contract is worth more than $500,000 and covers precision fabrication of a rail system and structural steel boom for the launching system.
National Technical Systems will then design and conduct a series of tests to analyze the launcher's strength and mobility and its electronic control system.
"We chose NTS because of its broad mix of technical capabilities and its proven level of success in engineering and testing similar structural systems," said HSFL Director Luke Flynn. "At the same time, part of our mission is to promote synergistic collaborations between educational and corporate institutions interested in space exploration. This is a very important commercial project, but it's also an opportunity for students to be involved in satellite design, rocket payload design and other related topics.
"For us, this is a teaching moment as well as a commercial activity."
The Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory is part of the University of Hawaii''s effort to accelerate the validation of new space technologies while teaching students aspects of space flight. HSFL is affiliated with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and its School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and College of Engineering.
NTS expects to complete the project this summer. The launcher will then be sent to to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]