U.S. Army Eyeing 'nanomissile' Launcher

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) — The U.S. Army says it has been developing what would be the smallest U.S. launch vehicle, a “nanomissile” to deploy swarms of tiny satellites.

The Army is looking at launching large numbers of small orbiting satellites that can be put in space with small, inexpensive launch vehicles, SPACE.com reported Monday.

“The interest we have in the orbital part is that these nanosatellites we’re building have price points that are between $300,000 and $1 million per satellite,” John London of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command said.

“One of the reasons we like satellites of this class is we can afford to put a lot of them up there to where the entire constellation is still relatively inexpensive,” he said.

The Army’s proposed Multipurpose Nanomissile would stand about 12 feet tall with a liquid-fuel core booster and relatively inexpensive strap-on solid-fuel rocket motors.

The core booster uses a nitrous oxide-ethane blend to produce 3,000 pounds of thrust, says Steve Cook, director of space technologies for Dynetics Corp., one of two companies contracted by the Army to develop the Nanomissile.

If completed, it will be the smallest launch vehicle available in the United States, Cook said.

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