Rocket Crafters Concludes Comet Testing

Rocket Crafters Concludes Comet Testing

Lab Scale Results Prepare Rocket Company for Flight

[COCOA, Fla. – May 12, 2020] —Rocket Crafters, the first space launch company to use additive manufacturing to 3D print rocket fuel, announces the conclusion of testing for the Comet engine, a large-scale proof of concept test model of its STAR-3DTM hybrid rocket engine. The tests were designed to show that the patent-pending hybrid rocket engines could scale from the laboratory to a size more commercially relevant. With 49 successful laboratory tests under their belt ranging from 250 to 500 pounds of thrust, Rocket Crafters initiated testing of the Comet 5000-pound thrust engine in February of this year.

Comet was tested three times. The first two tests were successful, closely matching the performance models that Rocket Crafters created. While still considered successful in terms of research and development, the third test experienced an overpressure anomaly, resulting in damage to the test stand and test engine. After the anomaly, the Rocket Crafters engineering team dug deep into the hardware and recorded data to determine what had occurred and how to prevent it in future tests. After extensive analysis, it was concluded that there was an initial failure in an ancillary part of the engine. This led to a larger over-pressurization inside the combustion chamber. The team found no problems within the core STAR-3DTM engine design.

“This is why we test,” said Rocket Crafters President, Robert Fabian, a twenty-five-year veteran of military space and missile operations and maintenance. “We find and fix problems in testing, so we don’t have them on the launch pad. We’re moving forward from here.”

With the completion of the large-scale proof of concept testing, Rocket Crafters is taking their lessons learned and applying them to their next big project- a test flight powered by a smaller version of the STAR-3DTM hybrid rocket engine. This will be Rocket Crafters’ inaugural launch of a flight engine and the first opportunity to see the performance in motion rather than bolted to a test stand. Rocket Crafters has planned two more consecutively larger test flights into space and back to Earth, and then into orbit. Not long after that, commercial service to Low Earth Orbit with the Intrepid small satellite launch vehicle will begin.

About Rocket Crafters:

Rocket Crafters, based in Florida’s Space Coast, is an emerging propulsion and launch services company, focusing on producing the safest, most reliable, and affordable rocket engine ever produced. Transitioning from research into commercial relations, Rocket Crafters has developed engine technology that the space industry has long been searching for; a payload-to-orbit transport system that is not only safe and reliable, but also with a price that is driven by the market.

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Grant BegleyCAPT. USN (RET), CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Grant Begley is an aerospace leader in the highly specialized fields of manned systems, unmanned systems, and robotic systems. As an aerospace executive and consultant, his work results in the enablement of next generation capabilities.  Begley is an accomplished initiator, developer, implementer and advisor of strategic planning, business development, resource obtainment, executive program management and technology insertion.

Grant, who has active security clearances, has enabled compelling new aerospace capabilities, future products and successes contributing to defense, national security and commercial applications for the federal government, Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, state governments, defense industry and the global private sectors.

Grant has successfully led the development of National Space Programs, from concept, to achieving compelling operational capabilities.

As a Certified Acquisition Executive, Grant advises global executive clients on competitive positioning, performance, and resolution of complex challenges leading to dramatic improvements.

Grant contributed to the development of the “Roadmap for U. S. Robotics 2013”, a White House initiative, as opening speaker and Team Leader. He served as Pentagon Senior Advisor – for Unmanned Systems, to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense.

In ’14 Grant became an Advisory Board Member for RCI.  He has been a member of the Executive Board since late ’15.

 

Paul LarsenVICE CHAIRMAN AND TREASURER

Paul Larsen earned his BS in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy, and his MBA from the Harvard School of business, specializing in Small Business Development and Small Business Operations.

Paul served for over 30 years as an Air Force and Federal Civil Service Price/Cost analyst, and a Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO); he held an unlimited warrant.

While with Air Force Material Command, Paul oversaw Contracting efforts for Minute-Man II Motor Wash-Out and Refurbishment; was Chief, Pricing and Finance Division; and President, University of Hill (Hill Air Force Base). Assignments during this time include Pricing Volume Manager for a complex $1.5b Air Force Pricing effort involving over 1,000 separate contract line items, each with four quantity ranges with firm fixed pricing for 10 years; Senior Price/Cost Analyst for major Program Depot Maintenance (PDM) contracts with European contractors to identify and repair structural and aircraft components for US jet fighter assets in the European Theater; working with several universities and colleges to improve and deliver education programs to Hill Air Force Base military and civilian employees; Pricing and Cost Analysis policy for the Command at Headquarters Air Force Material Command.

In ’10, Paul, Ron Jones, and Steve Edwards co-founded Rocket Crafters Inc. Today Paul serves as Vice Chairman and Treasurer. With his experience negotiating contracts and pricing, recruiting, managing, consulting and training government cost analysts, he brings to this position experience, leadership and focus that allows him to analyze and drive down costs to meet RCI’s financial and program goals.

Rob FabianCOL. USAF (RET), PRESIDENT

Rob Fabian earned a BS in Space Operations from the United States Air Force Academy, beginning a distinguished 25-year military career in both space operations and ballistic missile maintenance.

Rob worked extensively with the Air Force’s ICBM fleets, leading field repair and sustainment efforts on both the Minuteman III and Peacekeeper missiles as well as coordinating operations between the ICBM repair depot, acquisition program office, and the supporting logistics supply chain.  As a space operations officer, his responsibilities spanned the gamut from day-to-day satellite tracking to planning and policy work at the highest levels of the government, including developing a 20-year roadmap for future space control system acquisitions and coordinating military and civil space policy issues across multiple Federal agencies.

In addition to his technical degree and extensive space and rocketry experience, Rob earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College – Summa Cum Laude.  His work has been published in the Proceedings of the Naval Institute and Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy and he spent a year as an Air Force Fellow at RAND.

After retiring from the Air Force in ’13 Rob joined Rocket Crafters’ Advisory Board as a subject matter expert in rocket motors, military acquisitions, and military space operations.  At the same time he began working with BAE Systems providing acquisition and program management assistance and advice to the Minuteman III ICBM program office, further deepening his insight into government acquisitions.

In March ’14 the company appointed Rob as Senior Vice President – Propulsion assuming responsibility for the company’s rocket engine development program.  Later that year he was appointed to the Board of Directors.  In the Spring of 2018 he was appointed as President of the company, expanding his focus to oversight of all day-to-day operations within Rocket Crafters while continuing his hands on leadership of the rocket engine development program.

Rob brings a proven track record managing the personnel, constrained budgets, and highly complex processes will be crucial in bringing RCI’s innovative new rocket motors to market.  His in-depth space operations and policy experience within the Department of Defense and across other Federal agencies will be of great help as the company continues to grow and expand its customer base.

 

Sean MirskyCHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER

Sean Mirsky is an expert in Macro Economic Event and Algorithmic Trading infrastructure.

He is the founder and CEO of the ZNES Group, which uses its resources to invest in forward looking “development stage” opportunities that typically have their roots in space commerce, yet have some meaningful connection to trading.

Prior to that, Sean developed and co-led the global microwave network efforts of Jump Trading as Director and Chief Architect, achieving superiority in speed between US and European Trading locations.  He also served as an embedded infrastructure specialist to key trading teams at Infinium Capital Management and Goldman Sachs.

On the Board of Directors of Rocket Crafters Inc., Sean is currently involved with commercializing patented 3D-Printed Rocket fuel and other breakthrough technologies for delivering Small Satellite (“SmallSat”) payloads to the precise orbit specified by each client.

Sean initially joined RCI’s Advisory Board, and in May ’16 was elected as a Board Member.

 

Sid GutierrezCOL. USAF (RET), CHAIRMAN

Sid Gutierrez earned a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy – Distinguished Graduate – and an MA in Management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School and has completed a number of executive management courses at UCLA, MIT and Stanford.  In the Air Force he flew the F-15, F-16, T-38 and many other aircraft while serving as a fighter pilot, test pilot, and instructor pilot.  Sid joined NASA as an astronaut in the mid-80’s and in the early ‘90’s he served as the Pilot of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-40 Spacelab Life Sciences – SLS-1, a dedicated space and life sciences mission), and Mission Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-59 Space Radar Laboratory  – SRL-1, part of Mission to Planet Earth). Both missions were recognized with the Aviation Week & Space Technology Laureate Award for outstanding achievement in the field of space.

Sid retired from the Air Force and NASA in ’94 and joined Sandia National Laboratories, where he served in various senior leadership positions.  As a Center Director he was responsible for programs introducing disruptive ideas and technologies into satellites, space payloads and sensors and vulnerability assessments and analysis tools.  He was responsible for a very successful half a billion dollar national security satellite system.  He led innovations in national programs including support to the nuclear fuel cycle and international efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Recognizing the potential of Rocket Crafters’ innovative technologies and ideas, in ’12 Sid joined RCI as a member of the Board of Directors. Committed to changing the way we access space, in February ’15 he retired from Sandia to become the CEO of Rocket Crafters and Chairman of the Board. He is responsible for working with the RCI Team to establish and implement the goals and objectives of the company.  In addition to serving on the Board of RCI, Sid serves, or has served, on the boards of other for-profit corporations and a number of not-for- profit organizations, a state technical university, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and a Presidential Commission.

Ward SchraederMEMBER OF THE BOARD

Schraeder is a well-respected venture capitalist and television personality. He has dedicated his life to business investment and development. With an educational focus in chemistry and mathematics from Fort Hayes Kansas State University, Schraeder understands the economic impact, as well as the need, for emerging and changing technology. His previous business experiences allow him to understand all aspects of manufacturing, distribution, and management.