Space Launch Systems

Space launch systems are the key to exploration and commercial development of space. It is often said that the first 100 miles are the most difficult part of a journey into outer space.

Getting people and cargo successfully to orbital altitudes and speeds stands as a remarkable achievement of mankind, and one that continues to offer exciting challenges to today's aerospace professionals.


SpaceWorks engineers are supporting the development of affordable and reliable space access systems for payloads of all sizes. SpaceWorks provides our clients with technical analysis and design services particularly well-suited to the early stages of space launch system development, the pre-Phase A, Phase A, and Phase B stages of design.

Our key quantitative modeling and simulation capabilities include:

  • disciplinary analysis and design, including performance, propulsion, aerodynamics, mass properties, and others
  • systems engineering and risk analysis
  • cost, affordability, operations, and reliability analysis
  • commercial market analysis and market capture assessment


Air Launch Concept


SpaceWorks serves as the US coordinator for the Japanese ALSET program designed to conduct preliminary research into air-dropped rockets from subsonic cargo aircraft.


Rocket Back System Concept Vehicle

US Air Force Reusable Booster System (RBS)

SpaceWorks is supporting the Air Force on its RBS and Pathfinder efforts. SEI provides independent aerodynamic, trajectory, and propulsion analysis of competing RBS and Pathfinder approaches and also provides systems engineering and risk management support to AFRL's Chief Engineer for Pathfinder.


Horizontal Launch Study Flight Test Demonstrator 2

NASA/DARPA Horizontal Launch Study (HLS)

SpaceWorks provided technical and graphics support to the 2010-2011 NASA-DARPA Horizontal Launch Studyteam. The HLS study explored near-term air launch concepts capable of launching medium payloads to space.


Spaceport Field Guide

The Spaceport Field Guide (SpFG) is offered as a free resource to the community. SpaceWorks has attempted to compile and maintain accurate information, however we make no assertion as to the complete accuracy of this field guide. Users are encouraged to submit suggested updates and corrections to help us evolve this resource.

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