Super Strypi Flight Record
Super Strypi Pathfinder at Barking Sands
Super Strypi is a small three stage solid fueled rocket designed to cost effectively orbit
small satellites. It was developed by Sandia National Laboratory. The rocket is
rail-launch and spin stabilized, like a sounding rocket, with fixed fins. It uses a cold
gas attitude control system during second and third stage flight. Super Strypi can boost
275 kg to a 400 km sun synchronous orbit from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in
Kauai, Hawaii and 320-kg to a lower inclination 400-km orbit from US East Coast launch
Aerojet Rocketdyne developed the three rocket motors
under its internal research and development LEONIDAS (Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite
Integrated Defense Autonomous System) program. The company then built a set of flight
demonstration motors under contract from the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory and
Operationally Responsive Space office. The solid rocket motors are identified, for Stages
1, 2 and 3 respectively, as LEO-46, LEO-7, and LEO-1.
Aerojet Rocketydyne test fired the LEO-7 motor at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
at Edwards Air Force Base in California on August 23, 2012. LEO-7 is loaded with
approximately 7,000 lbs of solid rocket propellant and uses design features from previous
company motors, including Orbus 7S which was developed as a perigee kick motor for Hughes
On August 13, 2014, Aerojet Rocketdyne test fired the
LEO-46 motor at AFRL. The 52 inch diameter, 40 foot long motor generated nearly
300,000-lbf of thrust during its 73-second test.
LEO-1 was test fired during the Fall of 2013. The motor is based on the Orbus 1 motor,
which had a gross mass of less than 500 kg.
Super Strypi will launch the ORS-4 mission, currently planned for mid 2016. The mission is
sponsored by the Operationally Responsive Space Office, in partnership with Sandia
National Laboratories, the University of Hawaii/Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory, the
Pacific Missile Range Facility and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Super Strypi will be the largest
rocket ever launched from a rail system.
Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to use the LEO motors to support "small launch vehicles,
target vehicles and national defense architectures".
Super Strypi has also been known as SPARK (Space-borne Payload Assist Rocket - Kauai). It
will fly from a rail launcher at Kokole Point (LP-41) at Barking Sands, Kauai.
Super Strypi Inaugural Failure
Super Strypi, a small solid fuel three-stage rocket developed
by the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space office, failed shortly after its
inaugural launch on November 4, 2015. The rocket flew straight for about 45 seconds before
appearing to develop a coning motion. The video feed provided by the University of Hawaii
suddenly cut off at about the 60 second mark. Subsequent ground based videos published on
YouTube showed the rocket breaking up after a minute of flight.
The spin-stabilized, 20.4 meter long, 28.12 tonne rocket launched at 03:45 UTC from a rail
launcher at Kokole
Point (LP-41), Barking Sands, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. On board
for this Operationally Responsive Space (ORS-4) mission were 13 small satellites,
including the University of Hawaii's 55 kg Hiakasat and 12 university and commercial
Cubesats. A roughly 400 km x 94.7 deg insertion orbit was planned.
Super Strypi uses sounding rocket flight techniques to minimize costs. These include fixed
motor nozzles with canted fins on the first stage to induce roll for spin stabilization
and a rail-launcher that aims toward the proper azimuth and flight angle. The methods
result in high accleration forces, with a liftoff thrust to weight ratio of about 4.6.
The first stage used an Aerojet Rocketdyne LEO-46 motor that was 1.3208 meters (52 inches)
in diameter and 12.195 meters long. It produced nearly 130 tonnes of thrust at liftoff and
was designed to burn more than 20.412 tonnes of propellant in 73 seconds. The 22.68 tonne
motor was reportedly based on Atlas 5 booster technology. A flaw in this motor's design
was discovered last year, but the sponsoring agencies decided to accept the odds of
failure in order to complete the test flight attempt.
Super Strypi was the heaviest-ever rail-launched rocket.
(metric tons) from
400 km x 98 deg
(metric tons) from
400 km x 28.5 deg
||LEO-46 + LEO-7 + LEO-1
||~24 t (est)
|Propellant Mass (tonnes)
||~16.9 t (est)
||~3.35 t (est)
||~0.423 t (est)
|Total Mass (tonnes)
||~19.2 t (est)
||~3.55 t (est)
||~0.476 t (est)
|~76 t (avg)
||~16 t (est)
||~9 t (est)
|ISP (SL sec)
||(273 s) (est)
|ISP (Vac sec)
||(278 s) (est)
||~282 s (est)
||~293 s (est)
|Burn Time (sec)
Super Strypi Flight Record
DATE VEHICLE ID PAYLOAD MASS(t) SITE ORBIT
11/04/15 Super Strypi 01 ORS-4 0.2 BS 41 [FTO]
 Broke up about 1 minute into flight.
Last Update: December 15, 2015