Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nanosat Launch Vehicle

American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage, reusable, liquid oxygen/ethane propellant launch vehicle using aerospike engine technology and capable of delivering 10 kilograms to a 250-kilometer polar orbit. The NLV would provide low-cost, dedicated launch services to universities and other research organizations that traditionally depend on secondary payload opportunities to access space

Garvey Spacecraft Corporation (GSC), based in Long Beach, California, was a small research and development (R&D) company, focusing on the development of advanced space technologies and launch vehicle systems. As part of the California Launch Vehicle Initiative (CALVEIN), GSC and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), were jointly conducting preliminary R&D tasks to establish the foundation for development of a two-stage, liquid propellant Nanosat Launch Vehicle (NLV

As part of this initiative, GSC and CSULB were pursuing advanced aerospike engine technology for use on the NLV first stage. Their work built upon the first-ever powered liquid propellant aerospike flight that the team conducted using several of its LOX/ethanol Prospector research vehicles. GSC's most visible accomplishments included the first-ever flight of a composite LOX tank (conducted in partnership with Microcosm, Inc.), the first-ever powered flights of a liquid-propellant aerospike engine, and the launch and 100-percent recovery of several prototype reusable test vehicles.

On May 24, 2005, GSC and CSULB conducted a successful test launch of Prospector 6, a partially-reusable full-scale prototype of the NLV, from the Mojave Test Area in California. The rocket flew to an altitude of approximately 915 meters before parachuting back to Earth. The GSC/CSULB team was planning to refurbish and relaunch the rocket while also working on an improved design. In October 2005, GSC and CSULB conducted two flights in the same day of a single vehicle, the new Prospector 7, to demonstrate RLV-like rapid turnaround operations.Project funding was derived from a series of NLV-related suborbital flight tests that GSC and CSULB were conducting for several U.S. government organizations.

LEO Payload: 10 kg (22 lb) to a 250 km orbit at 90.00 degrees.

Status: Development.
Payload: 10 kg (22 lb).
Apogee: 250 km (150 mi).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • LCLV Various independently-funded launch vehicles have been advocated, designed, and even developed over the years. A lot of these are attempts to build low-cost launch vehicles using simpler technology. Often such projects begin based on a low cost liquid fuel technology but end up just trying to sell various combinations of Castor solid fuel stages. These enterprises often discover there's more to coming up with a reliable launch vehicle than slashing together a bunch of 'off the shelf' rocket motors and lighting the fuse.... On the other hand, if there is ever a breakthrough in less expensive access to space, it will come through one of these entrepreneurial schemes... More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Garvey American manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Garvey Spacecraft, USA. More...

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