Advanced Cryogenic Expendable (ACE)
GTL has been developing a suite of transformational technologies that have the capability to disrupt the traditional launch vehicle paradigm. BHL composite cryotank technology provides a four times improvement over large aluminum iso-grid tanks, offering a 6 percentage point improvement in small stage PMF. Superior Stability Engine is an innovative liquid rocket engine configured to maximize combustion stability margin while also maximizing engine performance. NORPS is a non-helium gas generator system that can be used to pressurize the propellant tanks for 1/3 the mass and 1/10 the volume of a comparable helium based system.
Using these and other technologies, GTL has developed the conceptual design for the Advanced Cryogenic Expendable (ACE) nano-launch vehicle. The 7700 lb gross lift-off weight ACE vehicle is capable of delivering a 154 lb payload to 400 nmi circular orbit at 28.5 deg inclination. With a launch cost of less than $1M at low launch rate, ACE is directly competitive with existing large launch vehicles on a $/lb basis. This affordability is enabled by a combination of high performance, reduced stages and parts count, and simplified operations.