12 June 1999
Announcements - Vehicles (None)
Roton ATV begins tests
Video available for download
by Peter Wainwright
Rotary Rocket Company
Press Release

MOJAVE, Calif., May 31, 1999

Ground testing of Rotary Rocket Company's Roton ATV (Atmospheric Test Vehicle) approach and landing demonstrator began in early May at the company's facilities in Mojave, CA. Static tests completed to date have verified structural integrity, flight instrumentation and flight controls. Propulsion testing has demonstrated propellant system integrity, tip thruster startup, nominal operation, and shutdown procedures.

The first all-up ground test of the ATV with its two-person crew aboard, which was planned as a limited-duration, limited-thrust, tie-down test began nominally on Friday May 22, 1999. A tie-down test is where the vehicle is secured to the tarmac, so that it cannot fly, while the rotor system is run up. The test was terminated by the pilot in command when a rotor RPM sensor failed.

As planned, the rotor and tip rocket system will now be thoroughly inspected and checked while proceeding with the test program. Components will be repaired or replaced as necessary before rotor testing recommences later in the program.

Ground testing is proceeding on schedule and will culminate with full-throttle, full-duration tie-down tests. Satisfactory completion of these tests will then clear the vehicle for flight test.

To view a short video clip and photo of one of the ATV ground tests, go to the latest What's Hot feature on our web site at:


The primary function of the Roton ATV (Atmospheric Test Vehicle) is to gather performance data and demonstrate operational flight of the vehicle's unique tip thruster powered rotor-blade landing system. This initial Roton is similar in concept to the Space Shuttle Enterprise that NASA built and flew to test the orbiter's landing characteristics before proceeding to build space-worthy version Space Shuttles.

Rotary Rocket Company's Roton will serve the telecommunications satellite market, a more than $30 billion market, at a fraction of the price of existing commercial rockets. A total of over 150 people are working towards bringing the Roton into commercial service in the year 2001. Rotary Rocket Company has offices in Redwood City, California, Mojave, California and Washington D.C.

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Copyright 1999 Rotary Rocket Company

For more information, visit our web site at: http://www.rotaryrocket.com/
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Peter Wainwright 12 June 1999
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