The skydart initiative demonstrates the collective will of GUMake to push the limits of what is technically possible within the context of a university society. The long term aim of Skydart is to reach the Karman line, situated at 100km altitude with only the hardware and resources available within GUMake. As such an ambitious project requires extremely refined systems, the end goal has been broken down into 4 phases.
Skydart-I due to launch in late 2016 will demonstrate the feasibility of the Skydart initiative in the longer term. With a planned launch to 22.5km altitude, the Skydart-I vehicle will prove that all systems are sufficiently functional to provide a robust launch platform for future platform. Key technologies tested in this phase include the pressurized, high speed electrolysis system for generating the hydrogen lifting gas and return navigation systems. Starting in Q3 2015, progress has been solid with major components now undergoing final tests, leading up to a scheduled launch in Q4 2016.
Skydart-II will consist of 2 vehicles. The Skydart-IIA vehicle will push further into the atmosphere with a more refined version of the Skydart-I hardware with more advanced systems and a lighter vehicle aiming to reach an altitude of around 28km. Skydart-IIB will remain at low altitude and consist of retrofitting a Skydart-I vehicle with a rocket propulsion system that will later be used to achieve an altitude of 100km under ballistic flight in Q2 2017.
Skydart-III will combine the data acquired during phase 2 and will launch a rocket propulsion stage from high altitude in order to prove the feasibility of a ballistic flight. Launching from 25km altitude in Q2 2018 and with a peak altitude of 50km, phase 3 will be the final step towards a full scale Skydart launch to 100km.
Skydart-IV will consist of a scaled up version of the Skydart-III vehicle, scheduled for launch in Q3 2019 will complete the Skydart initiative, placing GUMake as the first organization of its’ kind to achieve space-flight with its own hardware and resources.