ATLANTA, GA, December 22, 2016 – Terminal Velocity Aerospace (TVA) has completed a major milestone on its development of low cost reentry data recorders and hypersonic flight test platforms. The company’s first three RED-Data2 space flight units were shipped from TVA’s headquarters in Atlanta to NASA Johnson Space Center on November 16 for eventual integration into an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo resupply vessel. The RED-Data2 units are to be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard an Atlas-Cygnus from Florida in March 2017. Their reentry mission will begin when the Cygnus cargo vessel is deorbited and disposed, likely in early summer of 2017.
TVA’s RED-Data2 units are designed to record break-up data from reentering spacecraft. This information will help scientists and engineers understand the demise of spacecraft in Earth’s upper atmosphere due to structural and aerothermodynamic loads. The first three RED-Data2 flight units are also evaluating the performance of different heat shield materials that may be used on future US space missions. The units are carrying additional instrumentation and embedded thermocouples to record heat shield performance during entry.
After transmitting the recorded data, the three small capsules will be disposed into the Pacific Ocean at the end of their mission. Each RED-Data2 unit is approximately 23 cm at its maximum diameter and has a mass of approximately 2.4 kg. They are packed in protective aluminum housings for the trip to ISS. During their re-entry mission, the aluminum housings will separate and allow the RED-Data2 capsules inside to experience several minutes of free flight. Terminal Velocity is conducting this flight test under an SBIR contract from NASA Johnson Space Center. The project is also supported by a Space Act Agreement from NASA Ames Research Center. The Aerospace Corporation has also provided technical assistance.
“I am very proud of our engineering team for finalizing the integration, test, and checkout of our first three RED-Data 2 units,” said Dr. John Olds, TVA’s CEO. “Dr. John Dec and his team have worked very hard to complete our development and the requisite safety reviews for this flight, and we are all eagerly awaiting the launch, entry, and flight data collection phases of our mission. We are very grateful to our partners at NASA for their help and support on RED-Data 2, and we hope to one day evolve these capabilities toward truly responsive sample return for small payloads.”
Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC (TVA) is a company dedicated to improving reentry safety and furthering the utilization of outer space. TVA offers small devices for data collection during reentry, and for safe return of small payloads from space. Applications include improving our understanding of spacecraft atmospheric entry and breakup, flight test of high-temperature materials, low-cost recovery from space to facilitate high-frequency space-based research, and small scientific probes for exploration of other planets. TVA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc.
Contact: Dr. John Dec, Program Manager
Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC
1040 Crown Pointe Pkwy, Suite 950, Atlanta, GA 30338 USA