New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced the launch today of the second NASA “Flight Opportunities Program” rocket from Spaceport America. The public launch of SpaceLoft™ XL 8 (SL-8), which was designed to reach sub-orbitalspace, took place this morning from Spaceport America's Launch
Complex-1. Today’s liftoff marks the 20th launch at Spaceport America and the 12th flight conducted by UP Aerospace, a long-term spaceport long term customer.
The successful launch of NASA’s SL-8 commercial-space, research-payload rocket took place at approximately 9:15 AM (MDT), which was within the dedicated 2.25-hour launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 116 km or 72.2 miles.
The parachute recovery system brought the SpaceLoft™ rocket and
its payload safely back and it was recovered intact 40 km approximately
25 miles downrange on White Sands Missile Range as planned.
“It is great to have NASA back at Spaceport America and to have the
opportunity to support their second ‘Flight Opportunities’ sub-orbital
launch today,” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson. “We also
want to congratulate UP Aerospace, who has been launching with us since
the beginning, on their 12th launch from the spaceport.”
The SL-8 sub-orbital sounding rocket, provided by UP Aerospace, is part
of the NASA “Flight Opportunities Program,” which is designed to provide
sub-orbital payload launch resources for NASA and other government
agencies, as well as for educational institutions and the private sector.
Some of the “Flight Opportunities” payload customers for this launch
include: New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, FAA, NASA,
SatWest and the Department of Defense.