Aevum, Inc., a provider of comprehensive space logistics and autonomous launch services for lightweight payloads, rolled out its Ravn X Autonomous Launch Vehicle on Thursday. It is the world’s largest Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), by mass, designed to deliver satellites to space as fast as every 180 minutes. Aevum’s customer and mission partner, The United States Space Force, also took part in the Ravn X unveiling.
“Aevum is completely reimagining access to space. The current definition of rocket science doesn’t work for us. With Aevum, everyone will be able to say, ‘It is rocket science and I can do it.’ Aevum is pushing logistics to the next generation with software and automation technologies,” said Jay Skylus, founder and CEO of Aevum. “U.S. leadership has identified the critical need for extremely fast access to low Earth orbit. We’re faster than anybody. To me, space is merely a vantage point from which the next generation can commit global progress. Through our autonomous technologies, Aevum will shorten the lead time of launches from years to months, and when our customers demand it, minutes. This is necessary to improve lives on Earth. This is necessary to save lives.”
“I’m excited to see the bold innovation and responsiveness in development today by our small launch industry partners to support emerging warfighter needs,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Chief of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The U.S. Space Force is proactively partnering with industry to support U.S. space superiority objectives. Having a robust U.S. industry providing responsive launch capability is key to ensuring the U.S. Space Force can respond to future threats.”
Aevum has developed what is being credited as an entirely new paradigm for space access: Autonomous Launch. Autonomous Launch, unlike ground launch or air launch, involves a global, fully-autonomous, self-flying, self-managing, self-operating intelligent system of systems, called the autonomous launch architecture, working in concert to deliver payloads from any terrestrial origin to any space destination in low Earth orbit. The autonomous launch architecture optimizes every launch, taking into account variables including weather conditions, air traffic, orbital destination, payload weight, ground crew schedules, and other complex logistics processes to provide an end-to-end seamless service, autonomously. Critical to the Autonomous Launch architecture is the autonomous launch vehicle (AuLV), which flies itself without a pilot and only requires a one-mile runway and an 8,000 sf hangar for operation. AuLV’s use jet fuel and work exactly like an airplane.
With its fleet of autonomous Ravn X vehicles, Aevum will offeron-demand scheduling of precision orbital deliveries, as fast as every 180 minutes, 24/7, with no risk to human life. Ravn X is the only small launch vehicle that has been built from the ground up as reusable – 70% reusable out of the gate, it will be up to 95% reusable in the near future. After making its delivery to low Earth orbit, the UAS simply returns to Earth, autonomously landing safely on a runway and parking itself in the hangar.
The autonomous launch paradigm dramatically lowers the barrier for space access, in time, cost, and customer experience, and accelerates improvements in billion-dollar industries such as logistics, intelligence, defense, e-commerce, advanced analytics, climate change and weather monitoring, agriculture, IoT and more.
Already profitable and generating revenue, Aevum is on track for first launch with the U.S. Space Force and its ASLON-45 mission.
Ravn X Characteristics:
- Ravn X is 80 ft. long, has a 60 ft. wingspan, is 18 ft. tall and has a gross takeoff weight of 55,000 lbs.
- Ravn X is the only small launch vehicle that has been designed and built from the ground up as reusable. 70% reusable out of the gate, it will be up to 95% reusable in the near future
- Virtually weather agnostic, Aevum offers 96% availability to space per year and minimal delays
- Ravn X can launch from any 1-mile runway; the entire vehicle also uses the same jet fuel as an airplane, Jet A
- All of Aevum’s products and technologies are 100% designed and built in the U.S.A.
Aevum has been awarded prestigious government contracts totaling over $1 billion including the upcoming ASLON-45 mission with the United States Space Force. ASLON-45 is the first formal small launch mission contracted by the U.S. Space Force under its SRP-O program. Other active contracts include an AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract for rapid launch and space logistics, a broad scope, under a special topic developed for rapid transition of the SBIR program which includes sole-source eligibility for Aevum, a nod to Aevum’s unique value proposition to the government market relative to other small launch companies.
In addition, USAF Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Small Launch and Targets Division awarded Aevum its Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4), Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, giving Aevum the ability to compete for 20 missions over a 9-year period.
The sum-total value of these 20 missions is $986 million. With the OSP-4 IDIQ, Aevum stands alongside some of the most well recognized and established players in the industry to support the USAF with flexible and responsive launch services.