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QuickReach Small Launch Vehicle Development

Time lapsed photo sequence of the QuickReach drop article being deployed from a C17. From 2005 until the end of 2008 Holder Aerospace personnel supported AirLaunch LLC in the execution of the DARPA/USAF funded Falcon Small Launch Vehicle Program. Holder Aerospace partners made key contributions to the program in management, financial, and technical areas, serving in the positions of Chief Program Executive, Chief Operations Officer, and Senior Engineer.

The program included an envelope expansion test program of the C-17 cargo aircraft, demonstrating the ability to air launch the 72,000 lb QuickReach SLV from an unmodified aircraft. Test flights were conducted out of Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In addition, the team executed an extensive propulsion development & testing program of the AirLaunch VaPak propulsion system. The second stage engine of the QuickReach rocket was test-fired over 50 times, and a full duration burn of the integrated second stage was also successfully completed.


Full-scale 2nd stage engine testing in Mojave California.

In the process of program execution, the team set several new world records, including the heaviest object ever dropped from a military cargo airplane, and the longest duration test firing of a VaPak pressurized liquid rocket engine.