Rubicon [Space Transport Corp.]
The Suborbital Tourism Vehicle (STV), dubbed Rubicon, was a reusable suborbital manned spacecraft, designed by Space Transport Corporation to carry as many as three people on a suborbital flight to a 100 km altitude.
The STC Suborbital Tourism Vehicle (STV) was inspired by the X-Prize competition, but also to provide commercial space tourism. The vehicle was to be capable of winning the $10M competition by launching three people to space (100 km) twice in a two-week period.
Power was provided by seven identical solid rocket engines – each is 12 inches in diameter and approximately 10 feet long. Six of the engines were in a ring configuration around the seventh central engine. For liftoff, four engines were to be ignited. After first stage burnout, the two remaining outer engines were to be fired as a second stage. The central engine was to be fired alone for the third stage. The vehicle was to be almost completely reusable – the engines were to be cleaned and repacked for the next flight. The vehicle's Attitude Control System (ACS) consisted of attitude/position sensing equipment, compressed air jets to provide attitude adjustment as requested by the electronics. Loaded and fueled, the vehicle was to weigh approximately 5500 lbs and stand 23 feet high.
The first test vehicle was reportedly built on a shoestring budget of only 20.000$.The first test flight with two live motors failed, when one of the motors exploded at ignition due to imperfections of the solid fuel. The unmanned vehicle was destroyed. It was to reach height of 6 km. A second test flight of a second vehicle was planned for early October 2004, but did not take place. It was also to use the reduced version with only two motors, as the licence for suborbital spaceflights had not yet been issued.
|Rubicon (2)||2 × solid rockets
5 × dummy motors
|Rubicon||7 × solid rockets|
No.TypNo Type Fl.No Date LS Payload
1 1 Rubicon (2) 08.08.2004 Qu * F Rubicon-1 F1 Launch sites: Qu = Queets, Olympic Peninsula, Washington, USA †