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Date of Submission

Summer 5-1-2024

Project Type

Senior Design


Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering Department

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Adeel Khalid


Air launch to orbit is a new style or spacecraft where rockets are attached to a large aircraft and released at cruising altitude to then ignite and launch into space. Companies such as Virgin Orbit are using it as a cheap and efficient way to move satellite payloads into lower or upper Earth orbit. These styles of launchers can be designed to be much smaller than ground-launched spacecraft, reducing cost and weight of the launcher in comparison. With many private companies coming into the space and satellite industry, the design and manufacturing of these launchers have become a focus within the space industry.

The objective of this project is to design a rapid reaction satellite launch vehicle system. Participants shall provide engineering analysis and total system design associated with this system. The teams shall determine a system concept that best satisfies mission requirements and goals. The teams shall describe their design process, the physical and performance characteristics of the final system design and its components, an operational concept, cost estimate, development plan, and necessary support equipment and other resources necessary to comply with the Technical Requirements. Through our design the team was able to create many different design concepts and applicable components to be further analyzed and utilized within other projects or the refinement of this one. Our results show that the launcher did not meet the required velocity for the satellite to remain in orbit, and a further redesign and expansion of the second stage with the implementation of either a liquid engine or solid rocket motor would succeed in this issue.

The following link is to an introductory video of our project.

The Rapid Reaction Satellite Launcher RRSL (youtube.com)

RRSL Poster.pptx (1222 kB)

RRSL Presentation Video.mp4 (170511 kB)
Presentation Video

RRSL Final Presentation.pptx (48107 kB)
Presentation Slides

RRSL Overview Video.mp4 (87699 kB)
Promotional Video

Final Design Report.docx (24673 kB)
Final Design Report