Planetary Science: Progress with Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (sRLV)

Sunday, October 6, 2013
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Director’s Row I
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (sRLV), ranging from balloons to spacecraft, provide new, cost-effective platforms for planetary science observations and experiments. From planned balloon observations of Comet ISON to contained simulations of planetary formation processes in zero-G, planetary scientists are now utilizing these vehicles in their research. The modest costs and development times for suborbital missions provide excellent training opportunities for future spacecraft mission PIs and developers of spacecraft instruments. Suborbital platforms offer advantages for increasing technology readiness level for flight experiments at a fraction of the cost of traditional orbital platforms. The most recent Planetary Sciences Decadal Survey report, Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science 2013 – 2022, highlights the potential advantages of using suborbital platforms for planetary science experiments. This workshop updates the use of sRLVs for instrumentation, spacecraft and mission design to address and answer planetary science questions. Composed of talks and open discussion, this workshop will present science results and lessons learned from planetary scientists engaged in research, educational and outreach activities using reusable commercial suborbital vehicles, and explore opportunities for flying and funding experiments.