Kistler Aerospace Corporation is developing the K-1, a fully reusable, two-stage-to-orbit, medium-lift launch vehicle. Both stages return to the launch site using parachutes and airbags. Initial flight operations will occur in Woomera, Australia, with a launch site planned for Nevada in the future. Guidance of the flight is performed autonomously.
The K-1 system is designed to deliver nearly 4500 kg (10,000 pounds) of payload to a 200 km orbit (at 52 degrees inclination). The system will operate at a rate of 52 launches per year with three vehicles, with a nine-day turnaround time planned for each. The service life of each K-1 vehicle is 100 missions with periodic maintenance. The main engines and landing systems have been warranted for a shorter life due to their complexity and extreme operating environments. All flight critical electronic components have been designed for single fault tolerance. An integrated health management system will assess maintenance needs between flights. The vehicle is designed for fully autonomous operations during flight, with the exception that wind data will be up linked to the OV during reentry.
This briefing will provide an overview of Kistler's approach to the management and development of the K-1 RLV.