Yep, you read it right, Dawn Aerospace is offering a free ride of a payload of your choice to space on their Mk-II Spaceplane, all you have to do is crack out your creative side and design the paint scheme for the aircraft to be in to win!.
The suborbital spaceplane ride will see your payload reach 100 km in altitude and obtain 180 s of microgravity time.
This is a perfect competition for any student team looking to verify cubesat components, rocket components, well anything really! Just get your colouring pens out and go for gold!
See the press release below.
NEW ZEALAND, February 18th 2020 – Dawn Aerospace is putting the call out to designers, universities, scientists and any space enthusiast to enter a worldwide competition to paint their Mk-II suborbital spaceplane. Pegged to become the first vehicle to fly to space and back twice in one day, Dawn’s Mk-II is attempting to make history.
The winning individual or team will be awarded a free payload slot onboard the Mk-II spaceplane. It will be launched from the South Island, New Zealand flying to over 100 km altitude. The prize is valued at USD $50,000.
Designed to fly to space multiple times a day, the Mk-II is the latest suborbital vehicle in Dawn’s orbital launcher program. Capable of flying out of any airport with a 900m-sealed runway, it works by integrating with commercial airspace – just like any other plane. This capability is said to replace entire rocket factories and dedicated launch sites.
“We are working to demonstrate true reusability and a sustainable method of getting to space,” said Stefan Powell, Dawn Aerospace CTO.
The number of satellites launched is predicted to increase from hundreds to tens of thousands per annum within the next decade. Single-use rockets have already led to an increase in ocean contamination and debris. Increasing production rates to meet demand could present a significant environmental problem.
In 2018, Dawn demonstrated their capability of flying multiple times per day with their rocket-powered Mk-I vehicle. “We flew the same rocket powered vehicle five times in a single afternoon,” said Powell; “This type of repeatability is unprecedented in the world of aerospace.”
Dawn will offer research organisations and scientists the chance to fly payloads to 100km altitude three or four times per day, for as many days as needed. Starting with 3U payloads of 4 kg, each would see 180 s microgravity experiment time. This will increase as vehicle performance and flight altitude increase. Scientific payloads can be retrieved from the point-of-launch, enabling rapid development and experimentation according to customer needs.
“We’re opening up a whole new realm of research opportunities”, said Joshua Rea, Business Development at Dawn. “We are excited to see how the world’s researchers and payload designers want to use this abundant new resource. We want to hear from potential users about their applications and requirements, and discuss contracting mechanisms.”
First flights are poised to start later this year. Suborbital flights are planned for November, with bookings for commercial operations already underway for Q1 2021.
Applicants for Dawn’s Paint the Mk-II Spaceplane Competition should submit their design alongside a proposal for what they want fly by 31 March 2020.