Armadillo Granted STIG B Launch License

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Armadillo Aerospace plans to conduct the first flight of its new reusable suborbital rocket in late August under a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license awarded July 26. George Nield, FAA associate administrator for space transportation, awarded a two-year commercial operator launch license to Neil Milburn, Armadillo’s vice president of program management, at the NewSpace conference here.

During the first flight of the Suborbital Transport with Inertial Guidance (STIG) B rocket, Armadillo plans to carry two research payloads above 100 kilometers to provide the experiments with two-and-a-half to three minutes in microgravity, Milburn said. The launch is expected to occur Aug. 25 or Aug. 26.

The payloads are being provided by Indiana’s Purdue University and Germany’s Vega Space, which is providing a payload built by the German Technical University Braunschweig.

Heath, Texas-based Armadillo intends to use the August flight from New Mexico’s Spaceport America to demonstrate the capability of the STIG B rocket to potential customers and to qualify for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, Milburn said. The STIG B flight will be the first licensed flight from Spaceport America, Nield said. However, Armadillo conducted four test flights under an FAA license waiver available for small rockets, Milburn said.