WASHINGTON, March 6, 2012 - SpaceWorks Commercial (a division of SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc.) announces the approval of a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) to allow technical information exchange for the Air Launch System Enabling Technology (ALSET) research and development project from Japan. The United States Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has reviewed and approved the TAA between SpaceWorks Commercial and the Japanese team consisting of IHI AEROSPACE Co., Ltd. (IA), The Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF), and CSP Japan, Inc. (CSP-J). The agreement allows SpaceWorks Commercial to conduct technical information exchange to support ALSET by facilitating and managing U.S. based activities.
Under the TAA, SpaceWorks Commercial can provide unclassified technical data to facilitate a series of air-drop tests of an extraction system and inert rocket test article designed and manufactured by the Japanese team. The TAA allows SpaceWorks Commercial to coordinate the ALSET drop tests at a United States test range including arrangements for test support services, instrumentation hardware, the test range, and an air drop capable aircraft. This TAA will also allow SpaceWorks to assist the Japanese team in complying with range, aircraft, and overall system safety regulations.
The Air Launch System Enabling Technology (ALSET) project is a Japanese government Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) funded project to examine air launch orbital payload delivery systems and related technologies as a first step toward an operational commercial air launch system. The operational system is planned to involve air-launch of a multi-stage solid rocket from an existing large carrier aircraft (C-130 class) for delivery of small payloads on the order of 100 to 200 kilograms to low earth orbit. A team led by the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF), and including IHI Aerospace Co., Ltd. (IA) and CSP Japan, Inc. (CSP-J), was selected by METI to carry out the ALSET project. The ALSET program seeks to demonstrate the technologies necessary for air-launch as part of a Japanese civil space small air-launch vehicle technology development roadmap.
One of the main initial demonstrations of technical feasibility for the ALSET project will be a drop test from a representative carrier aircraft. A drop test of an instrumented full-scale inert test article ("iron bird" mass simulator) is currently planned for 2013. USEF, IA, and its partners desire to conduct this initial drop test in the United States for reasons of carrier aircraft availability, test site accessibility, and an established regulatory environment. SpaceWorks Commercial is providing assistance to the Japanese ALSET team with evaluation of alternatives, planning, and program management of US-based activities.
"U.S. State Department approval of the ALSET Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) is an important milestone and significant accomplishment for the program," said Dominic DePasquale, Director of Washington, DC operations for SpaceWorks Commercial and US program manager for ALSET. "With the TAA in place, we are able to communicate technical information to the Japanese team that is crucial for conducting the drop tests."
"SpaceWorks Commercial is proud of our efforts to assist with the realization of commercial space projects on an international scale. Through our 'Global Assist' line of services, we facilitate global aerospace projects through project management, agent, and broker services that are compliant with United States export control regulations," said A.C. Charania, President of SpaceWorks Commercial. "We look forward to continuing U.S. - Japanese space cooperation in the future through this and other initiatives."
About SpaceWorks Commercial - SpaceWorks Commercial, a division of SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), advances innovative ideas, solutions, and partnerships aimed at maturing near and far term commercial and international space ventures. The firm works with entrepreneurial ventures to enhance existing or to facilitate new business opportunities, providing consulting and advocacy services to help bring space projects to maturation. The division's capabilities include: strategic and quantitative-based insight, technical aerospace systems analysis and design services (utilizing its sister division, SpaceWorks Engineering), financial engineering, and space media. SEI is privately held. SEI is registered with the United States Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) as a broker of defense articles.
More information on the ALSET project is available from a paper and presentation entitled "ALSET - Air Launch System Enabling Technology R&D program" that was given at the 25th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites held from August 8-11 in Logan, Utah. The paper and presentation are available on the SpaceWorks website.
News and information can be found on the Internet at www.spaceworkscommercial.com.
Media Contact: Dominic DePasquale
Telephone: 1+202-503-1753 (office)