SpaceLoft XL

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SpaceLoft XL
Function Sounding rocket
Manufacturer UP Aerospace
Country of origin United States
Height 20 ft (6 m)
Diameter 10.45 in (26.5 cm)
Mass 780 lb (354.5 kg)
Stages 1
Payload to
140 miles (225 km) apogee
110 lb (50 kg)
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites Spaceport America
Total launches 9
Successes 7
Failures 2
First flight 25 September 2006
First stage
Engines 1 solid
Thrust 8240 lbf (36.6kN)
Burn time 12 seconds[1]
Fuel solid

The SpaceLoft XL is a sounding rocket developed by private spaceflight company UP Aerospace. The rocket is capable of lofting a 110 lb (50 kg) payload to a sub-orbital trajectory with an apogee of 140 miles (225 km).[2] It takes only 60 seconds to cross the Kármán line (the official "edge of space" at 100 km).[3] Launches are conducted from the company launch facility at Spaceport America in Upham, New Mexico.[4]


The rocket is 20 feet (6 m) long and 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter, and consists of a single stage powered by a single solid fuel rocket engine. Typical flights last about 13 minutes, with more than 4 minutes of weightlessness.[3] The rocket is reportedly capable of reaching up to 225 km (140 miles) altitude,[5] though its standard apogee is closer to 115 km.[3]


The first launch, SL-1 was made at 2:14 p.m. local time (20:14 UTC) on September 25, 2006, from Spaceport America. During its maiden flight, it experienced an "unexpected aerodynamic effect" and crashed in the New Mexico desert after reaching only 40,000 feet (12 km).

The second launch, SL-2 originally scheduled for October 21, 2006, was successfully carried out on April 28, 2007 at 8:56 a.m. local time (14:56 UTC).[6] UP Aerospace president Jerry Larson had said the rocket was assembled and had been on the launch rail since Tuesday (24 April).[7] The primary payload, Celestis Legacy, consisted of cremated human remains including those of astronaut Gordon Cooper and Star Trek actor James Doohan, whose ashes were also on board the ill-fated Falcon 1 when it malfunctioned in August 2008.

As of July 2015, UP Aerospace has conducted a total of 14 launches, including 9 with SpaceLoft XL rockets, most of which have been successful. The third launch, which was conducted at 14:00 UTC on 2 May 2009, carrying student experiments and the Discovery payload for Celestis, had an electronic anomaly causing an early separation and failed to reach the correct apogee.[8][9] To date, the highest altitude achieved by the rocket was reached by SL-9, which set a Spaceport America altitude record of 77.25 miles (124 km) on October 23, 2014.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c "SpaceLoft™ XL". NASA Flight Opportunities Program. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Suborbital Rocket Launches Human Remains, Wedding Rings into Space". 
  5. ^ "Spaceloft XL". Astronautix. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Star Trek's Scotty's ashes fly to space". AP. 
  7. ^ "Preparations Under Way For Second Rocket Launch". KOAT. 
  8. ^ "Officials Praise NM Rocket Launch". KOAT. 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  9. ^ "Rocket falls short of altitude goal at space port". 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-02. [dead link]
  10. ^ "UP Aerospace Inc. - Past Missions". UP Aerospace Inc. Retrieved 30 July 2015.