In 1999 Lockheed Martin signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, to develop, test and launch the hybrid sounding rocket. The program goal was to develop a single-stage hybrid propulsion system capable of replacing existing two- and three-stage sounding rockets. Hybrid propulsion offered significant advantages over solid fuel propellants in that hybrids were non-explosive, could be throttled, abd were low cost and environmentally benign. Lockheed Martin's Michoud Operations designed and built the 18 meter long rocket to demonstrate that hybrid propulsion technology offered a low cost solution for delivering payloads. The 0.6 meter diameter rocket used liquid oxygen and solid fuel to provide a thrust of 27,000 kgf and achieved an altitude of 70 kilometers.
Development ground testing (hardware qualification) occurred at NASA Stennis Space Center between 2000 and 2001. This testing concluded with a successful demonstration flight of a prototype sounding rocket from NASA WFF in December 2002. The flight demonstration vehicle was a 17.4-meter long sounding rocket using liquid oxygen and solid fuel, a rubberized compound known as hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTPB). The rocket generated 267 kN of thrust during a burn time of 31 seconds, and reached an altitude of approximately 69 km.
In 2004, there was further testing of the HYSR motors at NASA Stennis Space Center. The tests demonstrated the structural integrity of Lockheed Martin-Michoud's fuel-grain design and were facilitating development of advanced state-of-the-art hybrid rocket motors.
Success Rate: 100.00%. Launch data is: complete.
Status: Retired 2002.
Height: 6.00 m (19.60 ft).
Diameter: 0.20 m (0.65 ft).
Thrust: 264.00 kN (59,349 lbf).
Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).
First Launch: 2002.12.18.
Number: 1 .