Aevum’s Ravn X is “the world’s largest weightless airless system (UAS)”. Its goal is to send small-sized satellites into space, which it can do with very few resources. And it doesn’t need as much preparation as rocket launchers.
The Ravn X is 24 meters long, 5.5 meters high and 18.3 meters wide. Its total take-off weight is 24,950 kg. Its design is no different from that of a standard autonomous flying vehicle. They are high-wing tails, powered by two turbofans. The top speed is 925 km / h and can reach an altitude of 18,288 meters.
The whole system has three stages. The first is the autonomous plane described above. The second and third phases are rockets mounted in a position partially located under the fuselage, the task of which is to reach the orbit of the planet. The three Ravn X stages run on regular Jet-A fuel, which is used by passenger aircraft.
“We will now begin testing the level of vehicles required to obtain aircraft certifications and licenses,” said Aevum CEO Jay Skylus.
Even before Aevum unveiled the Ravn X prototype, it received its first U.S. government contracts, totaling $ 1 billion. The first role is especially important. ASLON-45 is a contract signed with the United States Space Forces, a recently formed type of U.S. military.
The main feature of Ravn X is the short flight preparation time. It’s only 3 hours. After completing the mission, the plane returns to the ground and can be prepared for the next mission. Another is security. Unlike Virgin Galactic’s designs, the Ravn X system operates in the air without a pilot.
This increases safety but allows for greater risk. They start only half a second after the second stage rocket engines are separated, minimizing energy loss. However, it may cause a unit to explode that does not start. In the case of manned flight, it would be impossible due to the threat to human life.