HiakaSat satellite mission will start already on 29th October from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. University of Hawaii responsible for design of satellite is going to utilize Super Strypi rocket manufactured in cooperation with Aerojet Rocketdyne and Sandia.
Space conquest milestones are well known. Apollo, Soyuz, Mir, ISS are words known for everyone. Sometimes less famous research centers become world players in space race. Hawaii University is good example of independent research center with ambition to develop own space program. Let’s have a closer look on this milestone. Hiakasat is part of mission called Hawai`iSat-1. Idea of creating satellite to demonstrate abilities and potential of University of Hawaii was born in 2009. With cooperation of students and scientists of University, HiakaSat satellite was designed and manufactured. Designed as low orbit light weight satellite (only 55 kg) is platform for in-house manufactured long wave infrared hyper-spectral imaging system. Project was sponsored by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – founded under Department of Defense in 1958, famous among other things from the project ARPANET, predecessor of the Internet), but was developed only in Hawaii University. Basic goal of Hiakasat is sensing with space ultra-compact hyper-spectral imager (SUCHI) and imaging with two co-aligned HSFL color cameras. It will provide image of Earth with detailed information from SUCHI about for example chemical composition of the soil.
Super Strypi rocket is another example of military and civilian cooperation in developing new technologies. As a result of cooperation University of Hawaii, Sandia and Aerojet Rocketdyne is developing under the Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System (LEONIDAS) program. LEONIDAS is project sponsored by the Operationally Responsive Space Office of the United States Department of Defense – Super Strypi origins go back to sixties and Strypi rocket developed as a part of nuclear weapon testing program. Goal of this project was to provide low cost solution for launching very light satellites into low Earth orbit. To show how seriously DoD treats this cooperation, it is enough to mention that launch service will be provided by U.S. Air Force. Super Strypi rocket is three stages, spin stabilized, solid fueled rocket offering 250 kg of payload in low Earth missions. Engines are provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne: in the first stage it is LEO-46 (additional boosters are possible), in second stage it is LEO-7, third stage is utilizing LEO-1 engine. Super Strypi is designed to be rail launched. Due the length at around 20 m and possibility of rail launching, rocket is cost saving, high mobility solution for low mass satellites. This combination makes it attractive for military (launching satellites in future at a pinch from almost every place on Earth, even if main space centers would be destroyed) and civilian markets (low costs).