Aevum Builds Drone-Launched Rocket Under Air Force Contract

Alabama-based space startup Aevum is developing a drone-launched rocket under a $4.9M contract with the U.S. Air Force, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.

The Ravn X launch system is designed to transport over 100 kilograms of payloads to sun-synchronous orbit using a reusable turbojet-based drone and is expected to launch before October 2021 to support the service branch’s Agile Small Launch Operational Normalizer-45 mission.

“The ASLON-45 mission was developed as a small launch opportunity for emerging providers in the very small mass-to-orbit market niche,” Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise, told the publication in an email.

Jay Skylus, founder and CEO of Aevum, said ASLON-45 marks the company’s first mission for the Pentagon and that the startup is “seeking partners who can provide domain expertise and strategic capital” to support growth efforts.

Aevum also plans to develop a larger launch system, Ravn, that would bring about 300 kilograms of payloads to orbit.

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