Insanely Fast 3D Printed Drone Set to Launch into Orbit

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

Reaching the stars has never been this speedy- Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global launch services and space systems provider, is making moves about reaching the stars at unprecedented speeds.

The company recently announced a new deal with the US DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for a Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron mission (also called HASTE) that will feature a hypersonic vehicle capable of moving at Mach 7 (equivalent to 8,350 kilometers per hour).

According to Interesting Engineering, the mission is set to deploy the scramjet-powered hypersonic vehicle “DART AE” by Hypersonix, which is a 3D-printed drone that boasts the ability to navigate non-ballistic flight patterns at unbelievable speeds of up to Mach 7. Rocket Lab’s upcoming hypersonic testing mission will showcase the ‘direct inject’ capability of HASTE, including deploying the Hypersonix payload during ascent while still within Earth’s atmosphere.

Rocket Lab’s HASTE suborbital launch vehicle represents a paradigm shift in hypersonic payload deployment and is a testament to Rocket Lab’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of space exploration while making it faster, easier, and more affordable. The HASTE mission will be operated by Rocket Lab National Security (RLNS), which is a subsidiary of Rocket Lab.

Interesting Engineering further reports that since its maiden orbital launch in 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has delivered 171 satellites to orbit for both public and private sector organizations, catering to the research and communication sectors besides defense.

In addition, building on its previous success, Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has also been selected to assist NASA on its missions to the Moon and Mars and is expected to play a role in the first private commercial mission to Venus.