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Friday, October 11 • 14:50 - 15:10
Black Brant Sounding Rockets: 60 Years of Going Beyond

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This year marks the 60th anniversary of Canada’s first venture into space, the inaugural launch of the Black Brant I sounding rocket on September 5th, 1959, which took place three years before the launch of the first Canadian satellite Alouette 1. That first Black Brant was launched from the Churchill Research Range (CRR) in Northern Manitoba, carrying a 100 kg payload to an altitude of 100 km. Since 1962, more than 1,000 Black Brants have been launched with a vehicle success rate of 98.7% (99.4% since 1982) – an extraordinary engineering achievement.

Although there has not been a Canadian sounding rocket mission since 2000, Black Brants remain the suborbital vehicle of choice for interdisciplinary space researchers worldwide. NASA typically flies 12-15 Black Brant rockets annually and has been doing this regularly since 1971. Other potential international users have expressed an interest in the Black Brant for their future suborbital missions, and the rocket motors have been continuously being upgraded to incorporate new materials and novel manufacturing processes, as well to improve the overall performance of the vehicle.

Depending on the configuration, the Black Brant can carry payloads up to 850 kg in mass to altitudes up to 1,500 km and provide up to 20 minutes of microgravity. The vehicle could be used to give cubesat hardware a suborbital flight opportunity, increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of new space technologies, calibrate satellite instruments by taking concurrent measurements, and perform interdisciplinary scientific research such as microgravity experiments, auroral studies, astronomical observations, and other investigations.

Sixty years after its first flight, the Black Brant stands ready to once again provide Canadian engineers and scientists in government, academia, and industry with a responsive and cost-effective platform for suborbital missions to advance interdisciplinary scientific investigations and technology capability demonstrations.

avatar for Eric Choi

Eric Choi

Senior Business Development Manager, Magellan Aerospace
Eric Choi is the senior business development manager for the space business unit of Magellan Aerospace. Over the course of his career, he has held positions of increasing technical and managerial responsibility in both the aviation and space sectors, the latter including work on QEYSSat... Read More →

Friday October 11, 2019 14:50 - 15:10 EDT
Room CR1 ICAO - 999 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC H3C 5H10