Research & Development

P-2 launch attempt update: First flight of an aerospike engine using liquid propellants

After resolving the issue of launch rail availability, the team is now doing final preparations for the launch the Prospector-2 prototype launch vehicle which will be powered by an aerospike engine. If successful, this event would mark the first powered launch of an aerospike engine using liquid propellants after more than 40 years of research by NASA and others.

As usual, although a late morning launch is targeted, the launch time will depend on last minute preparations. For operations at the Mojave Test Area, including logistics and directions, click here.

CSULB students who desire to carpool in the College of Engineering van should contact Paul Skaar at or (562) 985-2586. Only a few spots are available. The van will leave early Saturday morning (5-6 am) and return probably late in the afternoon or in the evening.

The previously-flown P-2 will be powered by the 1000 lbf aerospike engine. At apogee, the rocket will release a newly-developed payload carrier which will contain a small camera system developed by students from Cerritos High School. The system includes a photo-sensor which will detect deployment from the box and start taking digital pictures while the payload comes down on its parachute.

Two other CSULB/GSC payloads will fly onboard P-2: a GPS sensor with data downlink using wi-fi technology and a video camera with transmitter to obtain footage of the first few seconds of flight.

The rocket will also fly a USC/JPL MEMS propulsion device to evaluate its behavior in the stressful launch environment. Accelerometer data will be collected by the CSULB/GSC team to quantify this environment.

For additional information about either the CALVEIN project and/or the cooperative program between CSULB and Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, please contact the following project representatives:

  • Dr. Eric Besnard
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dept.
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • 1250 Bellflower Blvd Long Beach, CA 90840
  • Tel:(562) 985-5442
  • Fax:(562) 985-1669
  • John Garvey
  • Garvey Spacecraft Corporation
  • 389 Haines Avenue
  • Long Beach, CA 90840-1841
  • Tel:(562)-498-2984
  • Email: