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     Nearly There

    The EARL ProjectThe launch date for the EARL-D4 is drawing close. The hull is under construction and testing of the solid-propellant rocket motor is under way.

    The hull, which, unlike the sub-scale EARL-D3, has an internal framework, rather than a hard plastic foam body, is part-constructed. The housing for the motor and thrust bulkhead are complete. A glide test will be carried out, before the launch to check the aerodynamics.

    The rocket motor is a solid-propellant type with a specially-developed high-efficiency and low-cost fuel grain, which may have other applications after the launch, and will probably be patented. Firing tests with a 1/3 propellant load have been carried out, with no issues of concern. Full-load testing will occur this week or next week.

    The EARL-D4's launch date is expected to be towards the end of October, if the final part of the construction and testing program reveals no technical problems. On the first two flights,on successive days, the vehicle will, we expect, ascend to around 20km. However the hull has provision for three modular rocket motors in all, and a full set of motors should enable the EARL to climb to 40km.

    To reach greater heights, we intend to employ two further hulls as boosters, with a separation around 40km. It is possible that the EARL-D4, in this form may be able to reach into space, i.e. above 100km. We hope to do those tests next year, beginning with a single-hull ascent to 40km.

    Note: Spacefleet Ltd
    The EARL Project

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