UP Aerospace

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UP Aerospace, Inc.
HeadquartersDenver, Colorado
Key people
Jerry Larson, President
WebsiteOfficial website

UP Aerospace, Inc. is a private spaceflight corporation headquartered in Denver, Colorado. UP Aerospace provides sub-orbital transportation for corporate, military and educational payloads, via their SpaceLoft XL sounding rocket launch vehicles. [1]

History and future plans[edit]

UP Aerospace vertical launch site at Spaceport America

UP Aerospace was started in the late 1990s by Jerry Larson, an aerospace engineer who had long been involved in the space program as an employee of Lockheed Martin. Larson was also a member of the Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT), which in 2004 became the first amateur organization to launch a rocket into space. The company was incorporated in 2004.[2]

The first launch of the SpaceLoft XL occurred on September 25, 2006 from Spaceport America in Upham, New Mexico. The vehicle failed to go higher than 40,000 ft due to a malfunction attributed to faulty fin design and unexpected aerodynamic effects.[3][4]

UP Aerospace has conducted eight launches from Spaceport America during 2006-2009, including three in 2009[5] They plan to "double the number of customer launches from Spaceport America to six or more in 2010 as demand for the company's services increases."[6]

As of November 2015 the company is developing an orbital small satellite launch vehicle known as Spyder, with support from NASA.[7]


On April 28, 2007, some of the cremated remains of actor James Doohan, who played Chief Engineer Scott on the 1960s television series Star Trek, and from astronaut Gordon Cooper, were rocketed into suborbital space (along with ashes of about 200 other people) by UP Aerospace from Spaceport America. This was the first successful launch from the site.[8] The payload container was recovered 18 May 2007.[9]

By August 2007, UP Aerospace began offering low-cost launches to youth and students through the Space Generation Advisory Council for as low as US$2,000 per experiment. From 2008, the Space Generation Advisory Council hosted a range of competitions for youth to address specific technical or logistical challenges through the design of their own UP Aerospace TinySat module.[10]

In April 2008, UP Aerospace was hired by the large US aerospace company Lockheed Martin to provide launch services at Spaceport America for a test rocket program. Lockheed Martin stated that they are trying to create a lower-cost-to-orbit cargo service, using a winged vehicle launched atop a land-based rocket. UP Aerospace and the New Mexico location were chosen to aid in testing prototype systems. UP Aerospace was chosen, particularly, because of their experience launching rockets at Spaceport America.[11]

UP Aerospace conducted their 6th sub-orbital launch on April 5, 2012. Called SpaceLoft 6, it was contracted by the Department of Defense (ORS) office. The vehicle also carried on board an experiment from NASA's Flight Opportunities Program. The Spaceloft XL rocket launch set a new Spaceport America record at the time, reaching an altitude of 385,640 feet.[12]

UP Aerospace SL-7 launch took place on June 21, 2013. The vehicle carried 7 payloads for NASA's Flight Opportunities Program and the cremated remains for 39 individuals. This successful flight reached an altitude of 73.9 miles. All payloads were recovered on White Sands Range.[13]

UP Aerospace SL-8 launch on November 12 reached 385,000 feet, on board were experiments sponsored by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program. SpaceLoft XL 8 was the second fully manifested launch for the Flight Opportunities Program.[14]

UP Aerospace SL-9 took place at Spaceport America on October 23, 2014. After a 3-day weather hold, the rocket was launched reaching 408,035 feet (77.25 miles). The NASA Flight Opportunities supported Launch Carried 4 Technology Payloads. Also on-board were cremations of 30 individuals provided through Celestis memorial spaceflights as well as an experiment from a private company.[15]

UP Aerospace SL-10 mission launched on November 6, 2015 from Spaceport America. The SpaceLoft XL suborbital sounding rocket carried four technology experiments for NASA's Flight Opportunities Program to an altitude of approximately 75 miles (120 km). For the first time for UP Aerospace the payload experiments were separated from the rocket for an independent re-entry and were recovered 30 miles downrange after parachuting down individually.[16]

UP Aerospace SL-12 mission launched on September 12, 2018 from Spaceport America. The SpaceLoft XL suborbital sounding rocket carried three technology demonstration payloads for NASA's Flight Opportunities Program. The payloads were an umbrella-like heat shield called Adaptable Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT), the Suborbital Flight Environment Monitor (SFEM-3) and the Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS). Reached an altitude of 114 km (70.84 miles).[17]

UP Aerospace SL-11 mission was launched on September 17, 2018 from Spaceport America, just five days after the previous flight. The SpaceLoft XL suborbital sounding rocket carried technology demonstration payloads for NASA's Flight Opportunities Program. Also on-board was Celestis-15 Starseeker. Reached an altitude of 114 km (70.84 miles).[18]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ PROFILE: Want to shoot a payload into space? Perez is your man Archived 2012-01-13 at the Wayback Machine, Las Cruces Sun-News, 2010-10-18, accessed 2010-10-19.
  2. ^ Keeney, Laura (September 15, 2014). "Up Aerospace, born in Highlands Ranch garage, shoots rockets for NASA". The Denver Post.
  3. ^ "Low-cost rocket fails to reach space". Australia: ABC News. September 25, 2006. Because of an unexpected aerodynamic effect, the vehicle was short of its effected range, it went to an altitude of 40,000 feet.
  4. ^ "Doohan's ashes to be shot into space Saturday". Today. April 30, 2007. Company officials blamed the failure on a faulty fin design.
  5. ^ "Lockheed Martin launches test vehicle from NM's Spaceport America". Las Cruces Sun-News. 2009-10-12. Archived from the original on 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  6. ^ "UP AEROSPACE, LOCKHEED MARTIN Launch from Spaceport America" (Press release). Spaceport America. 2009-10-12. Archived from the original on 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  7. ^ "NASA Announces New Public-Private Partnerships to Advance 'Tipping Point,' Emerging Space Capabilities" (Press release). NASA. November 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Roger Fillion (September 26, 2006). "Colorado rocket crashes". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006.
  9. ^ Leonard David (2007). "Private Rocket's Cargo Found: Ashes of Star Trek's 'Scotty,' Others Recovered". SPACE.com. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  10. ^ "UP Aerospace Offers Space Generation Advisory Council Low-Cost Launches for Youth". PR.com. July 20, 2007.
  11. ^ Bob Martin; Bill Diven (2008). "Spaceport launch tests future spacecraft". KRQE. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  12. ^ "UP Aerospace Rocket Reaches 385,000 Feet Altitude". Dryden Flight Research Center. NASA. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  13. ^ "UP Aerospace Launches 'SpaceLoft XL 7' for NASA".
  14. ^ "UP Aerospace' SL-8 Flies NASA Technology Experiments".
  15. ^ "UP Aerospace Rocket Flight Tests Four Technology Payloads".
  16. ^ "Rocket Launch Demonstrates New Capability for Testing Technologies". NASA Armstrong. NASA. 24 Nov 2015. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  17. ^ https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/nasa-tests-space-tech-on-up-aerospace-rocket.html
  18. ^ https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/spaceloft.htm

External links[edit]