Rollout of ALEDA
Last Thursday, the spaceplane subscale validation platform ALEDA performed its rollout and first taxiing tests. The first flights will be executed in the coming weeks. ALEDA is a subscale version of the Aurora spaceplane currently in development at POLARIS, and has a length of 3.5 m.
In order to maximize performance, the Aurora spaceplane is designed to operate in a relaxed/negative stability mode, supported by modern flight control systems. The subscale platform ALEDA was built to validate the flight characteristics for the spaceplane configuration during take-off, landing and cruise-flight.
In addition, ALEDA will verify aerodynamics and flight control characteristics when carrying an externally-mounted, reusable upper-stage model. The baseline for Aurora is to carry conventional upper-stages and payloads in its internal payload-bay. However, the optional deployment of winged reusable upper-stages is of interest for special mission scenarios, and allows for 100% total system reusability.