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South Korea's INNOSPACE will launch Brazilian payload on inaugural flight from Alcântara

Updated: May 10, 2022

The launch of the test launch vehicle; "HANBIT-TLV", is planned for the fourth quarter of 2022

Mission patch; HANBIT-TLV

INNOSPACE, Co. Ltd. is a South Korean company, headquartered in Sejong City, that operates in the aerospace and defense industry, providing aerospace technology and manufacturing services., has announced may 3, 2022, that signed an agreement with the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA) to launch SISNAV, an inertial navigation system project supported by the Financier of Studies and Projects (Finep) of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations (MCTI) and by the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB).

Alcântara Spaceport has the conditions to host various activities related to space activity, which go beyond placing satellites in Earth orbit. In this case, we have the exemplary situation in which both a vehicle and an inertial system will be tested, both under development. We are sure that this initiative by DCTA and INNOSPACE will open a new chapter in our history of access to space, said AEB President Carlos Moura

Alcântara Launch Center in Brazil

INNOSPACE is currently developing HANBIT, a small satellite launcher powered by its hybrid rocket engines, and the first test flight of HANBIT-TLV is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022 (December 2022) at the Alcântara Launch Center located in North-Eastern Brazil, which is an equatorial launch site. It will be the first suborbital test flight to validate the first stage engine of HANBIT-Nano, which is a 2-stage small satellite launcher capable of carrying a 50 kg payload.

With this agreement, INNOSPACE expects to be able to verify the launch vehicle’s performance capability and obtain recognition in the aerospace sector at the same time by launching the payload despite a test flight. HANBIT-TLV is a 15-ton thrust single-stage hybrid rocket with a height of 16.3 m, 1-meter-diameter, and weight of 9.2-ton.

HANBIT-Nano (Innospace)

The HANBIT-TLV will carry onboard the payload SISNAV, an inertial navigation system being developed by DCTA and other institutions. They will verify that SISNAV operates well in specific environments such as vibration, shock, and high temperature that occur in the entire process from takeoff and during the sub-orbital flight.

“This agreement is meaningful in that INNOSPACE and DCTA have been committed to mutual technical and operational development and continued partnership. We hope that INNOSPACE will enter the small satellite launch service market with the successful first test launch of HANBIT-TLV in the fourth quarter of 2022 in Brazil,” said Soo Jong Kim, CEO of INNOSPACE.

Marcos Pontes (Minister of Science and Technology; Brazil) and Soo Jong Kim, CEO of INNOSPACE (photo during IAF 2021).

Founded in 2017, INNOSPACE raised 25 billion won ($19.8 million) in a series B funding round in July last year from key investors including Company K, Kolon Investment, Intervest, Future Play, Schmidt, SV Investment, L&S Venture Capital and Tony Investment. Kolon Glotech joined the funding as a strategic investor.

In 2020, the subsidiary INNOSPACE do Brasil was created, based in São José dos Campos, to support future operations in Brazilian territory and to form partnerships in the aerospace and defense areas with Brazilian firms and institutions. The company has agreements to launch both from Brazil and from Norwegian soil, at the Andøya space base

Innospace launch spaceports

Hybrid propellant engines

INNOSPACE's hybrid rocket engines provide for faster manufacturing and low-cost access to space and have "a stable, non-toxic, non-explosive design" that uses liquid oxygen and paraffin-based propellants and its patented electric turbopump fueling system. A hybrid propellant rocket engine combines the advantages of purely liquid and solid propellant engines: The liquid engine has better performance and allows throttle-up and down the engine cycle, as well as turning it off at any time in the flight; the solid engine has robust and high-power thrust in relatively short times, being simply adjustable and pre-programmed (it is the shape and arrangement of the fuel housed in the rocket that determines the thrust curve of the engine) but once it is lit, it cannot be turned off except by self-destruction; The hybrid motor combines both philosophies, combining the simplicity of the solid part and the performance of the liquid mode, allowing it to be regulated and even turned off at any time.

The use of electric turbopumps is already used by other companies that work with small rockets, such as the U.S based Astra and the New Zealand-American Rockelab. Unlike traditional machines that use propellant bled from the feed circuit to turn the pump shaft, sometimes equipped with a pre-burner or a gas generator in its simplest form, the purely electrical design offers simplicity of construction and cycle time. operation, albeit limited to lower powers. INNOSPACE designed their electric liquid oxygen pump using 3D printing for the centrifugal compressor and its housing.


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