US space logistics startup Aevum has launched a new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that the company says will be capable of delivering satellites to space as fast as every 180 minutes.
Dubbed Ravn X, the UAV is the world’s largest unmanned aircraft system (UAS) by mass. Aevum’s customer and mission partner, the United States Space Force, also took part in the Ravn X unveiling.
With the autonomous launch, unlike ground launch or air launch, Aevum is proposing an autonomous, self-flying, self-managing, self-operating intelligent system of systems, called the autonomous launch architecture. The systems work in concert to deliver payloads from any terrestrial origin to any space destination in low Earth orbit.
Critical to the autonomous launch architecture is the autonomous launch vehicle (AuLV), which flies itself without a pilot and only requires a one-mile runway. AuLV’s use jet fuel and work exactly like an airplane.
“Aevum is completely reimagining access to space. The current definition of rocket science doesn’t work for us. With Aevum, everyone will be able to say, ‘It is rocket science and I can do it.’ Aevum is pushing logistics to the next generation with software and automation technologies,” said Jay Skylus, founder and CEO of Aevum.
“I’m excited to see the bold innovation and responsiveness in development today by our small launch industry partners to support emerging warfighter needs,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Chief of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The US Space Force is proactively partnering with industry to support U.S. space superiority objectives. Having a robust US industry providing responsive launch capability is key to ensuring the US Space Force can respond to future threats.”
With its Ravn X vehicle, Aevum intends to offer on-demand scheduling of precision orbital deliveries, as fast as every 180 minutes, 24/7, with no risk to human life. The company also noted that the 24-meter vehicle was weather agnostic, offering 96% availability to space per year and minimal delays.
Aevum says it is on track for first launch with the US Space Force and its ASLON-45 mission.