Evolution Space, the world’s first nanosatellite incubator, today announced the successful completion of its inaugural mission near the boundary of space, Too Busy Chasing Stars. The $1.1M-backed space startup’s 720lb rocket reached an altitude of 188,444 ft while traveling at 3.95 times the speed of sound. The mission occurred at a private facility near Randsburg, CA, with Mojave Air and Spaceport nearby, on Saturday, November 13th, with T-0 taking place at its planned time of 6:49 AM PT.

“This was a big day for Evolution Space and all technology innovators looking to rapidly iterate in space, and one we’ve been working toward for a while,” said Steve Heller, CEO and founder of Evolution Space. “Our vision is to democratize space access for nanosatellite developers, and this mission has laid the groundwork for doing so. Only seven private U.S. companies have reached space, and out of 2,000 others trying to join them, we’ve now flown closer to the space boundary used by the U.S. Military, the FAA, and NASA than any of them. In addition, we’ve done it with orders of magnitude less capital than any of the seven that have surpassed that boundary.” 

Timely integration and no launch delays were an equally important step forward for the company. “Our team is thrilled with the system validation outcomes from this mission, but what I’m most proud of is the execution,” Heller said. “On time, under budget, none of the hiccups or delays or ‘space is hard’ moments that have become commonplace for fledgling space companies launching new hardware, including us in past missions.”

The mission set the stage for the company’s next foray, with the stated goal of passing the 100km Karman line. “As planned, this was an altitude-agnostic system test aimed at validating designs for the ultimate commercial vehicle in a representative flight environment,” Heller added. “Development and flight testing of our minimum viable product is now a small step, not a giant leap.”

During the mission, Evolution Space’s launch scaffold, ignition, motor, thermal insulation, Titanium fin structure, spin stabilization, fairing, despin system, and flight control/data streaming avionics all functioned perfectly as planned. The only issue that prevented complete mission success was an issue with the V-band release mechanism that occurred at the top of the rocket’s trajectory. The rocket was still able to execute its entire flight profile, so every other system had a chance to function successfully and become flight validated in the process, the mission’s stated goal.

The company plans to keep nearly every system the same, address the V-band release mechanism, and increase propellant for its next launch targeting the Karman line. Evolution Space is putting an initial Summer 2022 target on that next launch.

Viewers can rewatch the stream of Evolution Space’s Too Busy Chasing Stars mission, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRpT0CLbC0Y

About Evolution Space

Evolution Space is the world’s first nanosatellite incubator. The company will offer rapid and affordable suborbital space launches for nanosatellites and other nanosat-sized payloads that can be booked online and direct-to-consumer. This incubator approach provides a platform for startups, research universities, privately-funded labs, and under-funded government programs to test their new nanosat technologies. Evolution Space is built on a belief that space is the world’s next foundational technology. Its mission is to enable rapid iteration of space-based technologies to drive more progress from more places in less time. For more information, visit http://evolutionspace.com.