On November 5, we presented to the Shades of Blue (https://www.ourshadesofblue.org) & LPS Engineering Exploration workshop at Littleton High School. Shades of Blue has sponsored this for the past 11 years. The kids were amazing and we had a great time talking about spaceflight, Aphelion and sustainable, responsible space exploration.
I have been asked over the years about the inception of Aphelion and history since then. It’s been quite the journey and I thought I would write a blog post summarizing what we’ve done.
I was at Vandenberg Space Force Base this week to speak on a panel at the Space Force Assured Access To Space industry forum. On my way home, our friends at O’Cairn’s Inn & Suites in Lompoc comped me for the night in the Firefly Suite. Since the Alpha launch got delayed, they weren’t staying here so I got it. Lots of Firefly people around though. This is going to be Aphelion’s corporate hotel when we’re working at VSFB.
It isn’t “all work, all the time” at Aphelion Aerospace. Today, we bailed on the office to have some pizza with some of our team. Just like in my college days at the University of Illinois NCSA creating the web browser… engineers are still powered by thin-crust pizza! A good time today for all. Juan Rodelo Eduardo Corral Liam Rauter Jesse Dews Salma Dandass.
A high point… PDR Day at Aphelion! It was great to see our team working through the day to complete the design review. We had our on-site team along with our remote team presenting, discussing issues and getting us positioned to move on to the next phase of development. It’s always fun coordinating many people across multiple timezones for an 8-hour meeting. Tremendous thanks to Elliot, Juan, Eduardo, Liam, Asher, Galen, Jesse, Brandon, Chris, Craig, Miguel and our propulsion consultant John whose decades in the propulsion industry has been invaluable to us making progress with our unique propulsion technology. (I hope I didn’t leave anyone out) We’re making great strides and growing with their support and that of our investors and advisors.
I got pneumonia last week working in the bitter Wyoming cold with our team to get our rocket engine on the test stand and hotfire-tested, further proving our environmentally-friendly propulsion technology. The Aphelion Aerospace team was dedicated and heroic in very challenging conditions. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone, especially Eduardo and Juan. This sets the stage for the next phase of our development and good to finally get it behind us.
A few scenes from Aphelion’s propulsion system testing this week at our propulsion partner Frontier Astronautics testing facility. We conducted ignition tests of our rocket engine without the thrust chamber attached in order to refine the sequencing of valves and timing of the fuel and oxidizer flows. We had nominal results and will be firing the complete engine next week!