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Exos Aerospace preparing for the first flight of its reusable suborbital rocket in April

US: In a statement, Exos Aerospace said that it completed a “hover test” of its Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with GuidancE, or SARGE, rocket at its Caddo Mills, Texas, facility on March 17

That test went as planned, said John Quinn, chief operating officer of Exos Aerospace.

“We are excited to move two critical steps closer to launches at Spaceport America,” Quinn said of the test.

With the successful test and the license, Exos is now planning a first launch April 7 from Spaceport America, flying to an altitude of at least 80 kilometers. Preparations for the launch will begin in the week leading up to it, Quinn said, as the rocket and support personnel travel from Texas to New Mexico.

The rocket will be carrying payloads for customers, Quinn said, but did not disclose their names. One goal of the flight, he said, is to qualify to be a part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which contracts with several companies to fly suborbital research payloads. The program’s current suborbital flight providers include Blue Origin, UP Aerospace and Virgin Galactic.

Exos is based on both technologies and people from Armadillo Aerospace, a company founded by video game developer John Carmack that competed for the Ansari X Prize for commercial human suborbital spaceflight in the early 2000s and later developed a series of suborbital vehicles, including an earlier version of the SARGE vehicle.