The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected six contractor
teams for the first phase of the Responsive Access, Small Cargo, and Affordable Launch
(RASCAL) Demonstration program. Each team is expected to receive between $1,000,000 and
$2,000,000 for the nine-month phase one study. The selected teams are:

  • Coleman Research Corp., Orlando, Fla., teamed with Vela, Pan Aero, and XCOR

  • Northrop Grumman Corp., Rancho Barnardo, Calif., teamed with Orbital Sciences
    Corp., NASA, and Spath Engineering;

  • Pioneer Rocketplane Corp., Solvang, Calif., teamed with Scale Composite,
    Microcosm, Orbitec, and HMX;

  • Space Launch Corp., Costa Mesa, Calif., teamed with Scale Composite;
  • Space Access-LLC, Palmdale, Calif., teamed with APRI, Honeywell, and
    Microcosm; and

  • Delta Velocity, Leesburg, Va., teamed with A 2 I 2 , ATK, and Athena.

    Preston H. Carter, DARPA’s RASCAL program manager, explained, “DARPA’s vision
    for the RASCAL program is to design and develop a dedicated and responsive orbital insertion
    capability for military and commercial small satellites. The program will develop a rapid,
    routine, small payload delivery system capable of providing flexible access to space using a
    combination of reusable and low cost expendable vehicle elements.”
    The RASCAL system will consist of two major elements: a first-stage reusable launch
    vehicle employing mass injection pre-compressor cooled turbojet engine technology and an
    upper expendable rocket vehicle designed with high mass fraction rocket stages.
    In order to achieve a leap in affordable launch capabilities, the RASCAL program will:

  • Demonstrate mission turn-around time within 24 hours of payload arrival;
  • Deliver a 75-kilogram payload into a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit;
  • Demonstrate, through a credible cost-estimating model, that recurring launch
    costs for the RASCAL operating system will be $750,000 per launch for a 75-
    kilogram payload; and

  • Validate the ability to operate from a 2,500-meter runway with minimal peculiar
    support equipment and independent of test ranges for telemetry and tracking
    Arlington, VA 22203-1714 “Providing technological innovation for
    national security for over 40 years.”

    During the phase one studies, teams will finalize their notional concepts to a system-level
    design and determine feasibility. Teams will also refine the RASCAL concept of operations, the
    mission cost model, and phase two and three program details. Phase one will end with a spiral
    downselect from these six teams to two teams to continue with system design for a 12-month
    second phase. During phase three, a single winning contractor will fabricate, integrate and
    flight-demonstrate two payload insertions in FY 2006.


    Media with questions, please contact Jan Walker, (703) 696-2404, or
    Contractors or military organizations, contact Dr. Preston Carter, (703) 696-7500, or