SpaceDev Inc.
, the world’s first publicly-traded commercial space
exploration and development company, today announced it has
successfully test fired its first hybrid rocket motor.

The test firing took place at SpaceDev headquarters.

“This small hybrid motor design will be incorporated into a
prototype orbital Maneuvering and Transfer Vehicle (MTV) by the end of
the year. This gives SpaceDev another small and inexpensive commercial
space product,” said Jim Benson, chairman and chief executive officer
of SpaceDev. “This successful rocket motor test firing is significant
because it demonstrates SpaceDev has the in-house engineering
capability to design, build and instrument a mobile rocket motor test
stand, and at the same time design, build and successfully test a
rocket motor, all in less than 90 days.”

The five-inch-in-diameter, foot-long motor was fired in SpaceDev’s
newly constructed motor test facility, financed by a recent grant from
the California Space and Technology Alliance (CSTA). The motor was
then disassembled for inspection and evaluation. A new improved motor
will undergo multiple test firings over the next two months as part of
a SpaceDev contract with the National Reconnaissance Office to
demonstrate hybrid motor technology for the MTV.

“This little motor is to be used in our inexpensive orbital
maneuvering and transfer vehicles,” said John Bodle, SpaceDev
Propulsion Manager. “It is designed for use in small kick motor
products for secondary payloads like the micro-satellite we are
building for UC Berkeley as NASA’s first University Explorer (UNEX)
mission. These hybrid motors will form the base of our hands-on
experience for scaling up to larger hybrid rocket motors for strap-on
boosters, sounding rockets, small launch vehicles and perhaps safe
engines for manned space planes.”

SpaceDev will use their motor test results in conjunction with the
rocket motor test firing data produced by the late American Rocket
Company (AMROC). Using the combined results, SpaceDev intends to
produce the motor for three sizes of MTVs, and to produce a larger
size for manned sub-orbital space planes.

SpaceDev is working with companies that are competing to win the
$10 million X-Prize for the first commercial manned vehicle to
repetitively take people to an altitude of 60 miles (100 km). These
companies hope their space planes will form the basis of a new
industry: space tourism, and SpaceDev hopes to be a major supplier of
inexpensive, clean, safe, reusable rocket motors for these manned
space ships.

About SpaceDev

SpaceDev ( offers low-cost commercial missions
and spacecraft for earth and lunar orbiters, Mars orbiters and probe
carriers and asteroid rendezvous and landers. The company believes
that SpaceDev’s sale of turnkey, fixed-price, commercial space
products is a leading edge innovation for the space industry. SpaceDev
offers fixed-price package delivery for science instruments and
technology demonstrations into earth orbit and deep space and to other
planetary bodies. SpaceDev and The Boeing Co. , announced
this year that they have teamed together to investigate opportunities
of mutual strategic interest in the commercial deep-space arena,
including a variety of small, low-cost, private deep-space mission
initiatives formulated by SpaceDev. Established in 1997, SpaceDev is
the world’s first publicly-traded commercial space exploration and
development company. SpaceDev’s offices are located near San Diego in

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