Published on September 5th, 2016 | by Geetika Bhasin
F-104 Fighter Jets to be Used by Cubecab for Launching Cubesats that are Stacked in 3D Printed Rockets
CubeCab is a company engaged in launching CubeSats into Low Earth orbit. The company plans to curtail its launch costs by using old fighter jets and 3D printed rockets. For this purpose, it will use F-104 fighter jets that were functional from the 1950s to the year 2004.
These CubeSats are introduced into the earth’s orbit to perform research and other satellite operations. The 3D printed CubeSats will be sent to the international space station and will be later directed from there. Some others will be independently launched. But these launches involve exorbitant costs and long waiting times.
Soon, these retired fighter jets and 3D printed rockets will be used as launch pads. CubeCab is a business engaged in making 3D printed rockets that will be filled with 3D printed CubeSats. These will be fired from the old fighter jets into the lower orbit Earth. The CubeCab company people say that they aim to be the FED EX/USPS/UPS of the satellite launches that will deliver the CubeSats at the exact orbit location.
These fighter jets are owned by Aerospace and it conducts its launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida. These jets will be flown to an altitude of 60,000 feet and the CubeSats will be launched from there. The F-104 jets were acquired from the Italian Air Force.
CubeCab intends to span the ordering to launching time to just 30 days, as opposed to the standard time of 2-3 years. It plans to charge $250,000 for every CubeSat delivery. This cost is lesser than the price of launching individual rockets. The launch will commence in 2018, and will be available for the versions 3U CubeSat—three 10 x 10 x 10 cm satellites lined in a queue.