Spaceport America, NM – New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced the launch today of the first NASA “Flight Opportunities Program” rocket designed to reach sub-orbital space. The public launch of SpaceLoft™ XL 7 (S-7) took place this morning from Spaceport America's Launch Complex-1. This launch marks the 11th flight since 2006 at Spaceport America conducted by UP Aerospace and the 19th overall flight from the spaceport.
The successful launch of NASA’s SL-7 commercial-space, research-payload rocket took place at approximately 7:57 AM (MDT), which was within the dedicated 2.25 hour launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 119 km (74 miles). The parachute recovery system brought the SpaceLoft™ rocket and its payload safely back and was recovered intact 37.8 km (23.5 miles) downrange on White Sands Missile Range as planned
“We are very excited at Spaceport America to be providing launch services for NASA’s first ‘Flight Opportunities’ sub-orbital launch today,” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson. “We look forward to working with NASA in the future as their work expands at Spaceport America. We will see both NASA and the UP Aerospace teams back here at the spaceport this fall to launch their SL-8 rocket.”
The SL-7 sub-orbital sounding rocket launch today is part of the NASA “Flight Opportunities Program,” which is designed to provide suborbital 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: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Defense (DOD), NASA, Celestis, Inc. and various middle schools, high schools and universities around New Mexico.