Space Launch Report:  Super Strypi
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sstrypi1s.jpg (19442 bytes)Super Strypi

Vehicle Configurations

Vehicle Components

Super Strypi Flight Record

Super Strypi Pathfinder at Barking Sands

Super Strypi is a small three stage solid fueled rocket designed to cost effectively orbit small satellites. It was developed by Sandia National Laboratory. The rocket is rail-launch and spin stabilized, like a sounding rocket, with fixed fins. It uses a cold gas attitude control system during second and third stage flight. Super Strypi can boost 275 kg to a 400 km sun synchronous orbit from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii and 320-kg to a lower inclination 400-km orbit from US East Coast launch sites.

Aerojet Rocketdyne developed the three rocket motors under its internal research and development LEONIDAS (Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System) program. The company then built a set of flight demonstration motors under contract from the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory and Operationally Responsive Space office. The solid rocket motors are identified, for Stages 1, 2 and 3 respectively, as LEO-46, LEO-7, and LEO-1.

Aerojet Rocketydyne test fired the LEO-7 motor at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Edwards Air Force Base in California on August 23, 2012. LEO-7 is loaded with approximately 7,000 lbs of solid rocket propellant and uses design features from previous company motors, including Orbus 7S which was developed as a perigee kick motor for Hughes 393 satellites.

LEO-46.jpg (15545 bytes)LEO-46 Test

On August 13, 2014, Aerojet Rocketdyne test fired the LEO-46 motor at AFRL. The 52 inch diameter, 40 foot long motor generated nearly 300,000-lbf of thrust during its 73-second test.

LEO-1 was test fired during the Fall of 2013. The motor is based on the Orbus 1 motor, which had a gross mass of less than 500 kg.

Super Strypi will launch the ORS-4 mission, currently planned for mid 2016. The mission is sponsored by the Operationally Responsive Space Office, in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Hawaii/Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory, the Pacific Missile Range Facility and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Super Strypi will be the largest rocket ever launched from a rail system.

Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to use the LEO motors to support "small launch vehicles, target vehicles and national defense architectures".

Super Strypi has also been known as SPARK (Space-borne Payload Assist Rocket - Kauai). It will fly from a rail launcher at Kokole Point (LP-41) at Barking Sands, Kauai.

sstrypi01s.jpg (15779 bytes)Super Strypi Inaugural Failure

Super Strypi, a small solid fuel three-stage rocket developed by the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space office, failed shortly after its inaugural launch on November 4, 2015. The rocket flew straight for about 45 seconds before appearing to develop a coning motion. The video feed provided by the University of Hawaii suddenly cut off at about the 60 second mark. Subsequent ground based videos published on YouTube showed the rocket breaking up after a minute of flight.

The spin-stabilized, 20.4 meter long, 28.12 tonne rocket launched at 03:45 UTC from a rail launcher at Kokole Point (LP-41), Barking Sands, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. On board for this Operationally Responsive Space (ORS-4) mission were 13 small satellites, including the University of Hawaii's 55 kg Hiakasat and 12 university and commercial Cubesats.  A roughly 400 km x 94.7 deg insertion orbit was planned.

Super Strypi uses sounding rocket flight techniques to minimize costs. These include fixed motor nozzles with canted fins on the first stage to induce roll for spin stabilization and a rail-launcher that aims toward the proper azimuth and flight angle. The methods result in high accleration forces, with a liftoff thrust to weight ratio of about 4.6.

The first stage used an Aerojet Rocketdyne LEO-46 motor that was 1.3208 meters (52 inches) in diameter and 12.195 meters long. It produced nearly 130 tonnes of thrust at liftoff and was designed to burn more than 20.412 tonnes of propellant in 73 seconds. The 22.68 tonne motor was reportedly based on Atlas 5 booster technology. A flaw in this motor's design was discovered last year, but the sponsoring agencies decided to accept the odds of failure in order to complete the test flight attempt.

Super Strypi was the heaviest-ever rail-launched rocket.


Vehicle Configurations

  LEO Payload
(metric tons) from
Barking Sands
400 km x 98 deg
LEO Payload
(metric tons) from
Cape Canaveral
400 km x 28.5 deg
Configuration LIftoff
(metric tons)
Super Strypi 0.275 t 0.300 t LEO-46 + LEO-7 + LEO-1 ~18 m ~24 t (est)

Vehicle Components

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Diameter (m) 1.32 m 1.32 m 0.69 m 1.32 m
Length (m) 12.2 m 2.27 m 1.26 m m
Propellant Mass (tonnes) ~16.9 t (est) ~3.35 t (est) ~0.423 t (est)  
Total Mass (tonnes) ~19.2 t (est) ~3.55 t (est) ~0.476 t (est)  
Engine LEO-46 LEO-7 LEO-1  
Engine Mfgr Aerojet Aerojet Aerojet  
Fuel Solid Solid Solid  
Oxidizer Solid Solid Solid  
(SL tonnes)
~130 t - -  
(Vac tonnes)
~76 t (avg) ~16 t (est) ~9 t (est)  
ISP (SL sec) (273 s) (est) - -  
ISP (Vac sec) (278 s) (est) ~282 s (est) ~293 s (est)  
Burn Time (sec) 73 s ~60 s ~40 s  
No. Engines/Motors 1 1 1 1

Super Strypi Flight Record

11/04/15  Super Strypi   01  ORS-4            0.2     BS 41 [FTO][1]
[1] Broke up about 1 minute into flight.




 Last Update:  December 15, 2015