Research & Development

Students Prepare for the Second Liquid-propellant Aerospike Engine Flight Onboard P-4, Dec.6, 2003

Following the recent launch of their 1000 lbf thrust ablative annular aerospike engine onboard Prospector-2, the CALVEIN team is now gearing up for a second flight for the Dec. 6-7 weekend. The targeted launch date is Saturday, Dec. 6. As usual, although a 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 affiliates (students, faculty and friends) interested in attending the flight test should contact Ashley Carter ( who is coordinating with the RRS. They will be asked to provide necessary information and trial membership fee ($10) to the Reaction Research Society (RRS).* More information, including administrative forms, can be found on the RRS website at

The engine, which operated below nominal conditions during the first flight, has been retrofitted and slightly modified to avoid the anomaly observed during the first flight. The engine will use another set of graphite components machined by Electro-Tech Machining in Long Beach and a new ablative liner.

The engine is now ready to be integrated into the Prospector-4 (P-4) which the students have been assembling over the last 2 months.

solid model of the engine

Solid model of the engine

Another major on-going effort is the modification of the recovery system deployment mechanism which did not function during the last flight. A new single-stage system has been developed and will be tested during this flight.

P-2 will fly several payloads, including a data acquisition system with downlink using the telemetry package being developed for P-3, Flight Test #2 (based on Wi-Fi technology with a 1W amplifier) and a small camera to be deployed at apogee and developed by Cerritos High School students.

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: