SMALL VEHICLE LAUNCH OPERATIONS
GLIDER LAUNCH OPERATIONS
The Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration Program has allocated $25-50M towards a glider launch concept and has enabled foreign investment and development. The concept is fully designed but not yet built. Hawaii’s geographic isolation makes it an ideal base location for an air-launch vehicle. Funding from DoD and foreign investments could be used to help offset the development costs. The revenue for Hawaii would include: (1) a share of the IP value for the glider system estimated at $660M when fully operational; (2) operational costs for the launch sites; (3) increase in high-tech companies/jobs related to orbital and planetary missions; and (4) U.S. Air Force support for six U.S. small rockets that can be adapted to launch from the glider. A successful operation is estimated to be worth $1B after 3 to 4 years.
Two private space companies are currently interested in launching payloads into space from East Hawaii at a frequency of roughly 10 to 15 launches per year. Hawaii’s geographic position make it an ideal location for equatorial orbital launches for small launch vehicles.