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12 December 2011 - IAR-111, airframe progresses

ARCA completed the airframe of the capsule and front section of the IAR - 111 Excelsior suborbital rocket-plane. The team is currently working on the middle section and the wing.

 

 

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November 11, 2011 - Dumitru Popescu at TEDxBucharest

Dumitru Popescu was speaker at the TEDxBucharest. "TEDxBucharest event focused this year on new technologies, designs, arts and businesses both locally, regionally and internationally."

 

 

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September 29, 2011 - The capsule of Excelsior rocket-plane. was tested

On September 26, 2011, ARCA with the support of the Aviation Special Unit and the Coast Guard, performed Mission 6, the test flight of IAR-111 Excelsior rocket-plane. capsule. A Mi-17 helicopter lifted the capsule to the altitude of 2,300 ft (700 m). The helicopter released the capsule and the recovery parachute was extracted from its container by a rocket motor. The capsule landed perfectly on the sea. Two ships of the Coast Guard have supported the recovery. The recovery of the capsule from the sea was made with the same Mi-17 helicopter.

 

 

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September 18, 2011 - The aerodynamic simulations for the Excelsior rocket-plane. were completed

The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations for IAR-111 Excelsior began at ARCA in 2010. Since then, ARCA has continued the simulations for all possible flight configurations. The long duration of these simulations was determined by the complexity and by the amount of calculation required. During this period three computers worked almost non-stop.
"At the end of 2010 we had a clear picture of the IAR-111 Excelsior configuration from aerodynamic simulations run. This allowed us to start working on the rocket-plane. in early 2011. Since then, the simulations were made for all the flight configurations, altitudes and speeds. These simulations lead to some changes for optimizing the aircraft's geometry, even during construction, such as lowering the aircraft's engine 30 cm below the level of the wings, increasing wingspan by 90 cm. At this point it's likely to maintain this configuration of the rocketplane. " - Dumitru Popescu, ARCA president.

 

 

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September 12, 2011 - Excelsior rear fuselage section positive molds completed

ARCA completed the rear section positive molds for the IAR-111 Excelsior rocket-plane. These are the final molds for the rocket-plane. fuselage.

 

 

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July 13, 2011- ARCA visited NASA Ames Research Center - California

On 10-13 July 2011, ARCA attended the Google Lunar X Prize summit held at NASA Ames Research Center and Seti Institute in San Francisco. ARCA presented IAR-111 program. The team was able to talk to NASA's Ames Research Center engineers about the aircraft and spaceship models tested in the wind tunnels. "It was an opportunity for us to see legendary places at NASA Ames, places where were tested experimental aircrafts and capsules for the US Space Program. There are places where history overwhelms you and NASA Ames is one of them."- Dumitru Popescu, ARCA president. At the end of the Summit, ARCA was also present at Google Headquarters to discuss about the opportunity to better promote ARCA using Google technologies.

 

 

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July 7, 2011 - ARCA members met astronaut Guion Bluford

Dumitru Popescu and Mihai Ilie discussed with astronaut Guion Bluford about the systems for rescue and flight cancellation on board the space shuttle.

 

 

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July 5, 2011 - ARCA completed the Excelsior's capsule structure

ARCA completed the capsule structure of IAR-111 Excelsior rocket-plane. The capsule is made of composite materials. It weights 1,100 lb (500 kg) fully equipped and has a crew of two (pilot and navigator). The capsule could be ejected when necessary and is equipped with two rocket powered parachutes. ARCA will soon carry out Mission 6, the cabin drop test.

 

 

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April 18, 2011 - Excelsior program continues with new hardware completion

Front fuselage positive mold for the Excelsior rocket plane was completed.

 

 

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April 6, 2011 - ARCA team, flight training on the EXTRA 300L airplane

ARCA team members trained on the EXTRA 300L airplane. This program will help the team to better understand and experience the real flight situations including high G load factors and unexpected maneuvers. Extra 300 is one of the best acrobatic airplane in the world. The Excelsior program will definitely continue with a richer experience.

 

 

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March 1, 2011 - Excelsior cabin mold completed

ARCA completed today the positive molds for the capsule of the IAR-111 Excelsior rocket-plane.

 

 

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22 December 2010 - IAR-111 Excelsior rocket-plane. press conference

ARCA presented today the project of a suborbital rocket-plane. It is called IAR-111 Excelsior and is intended for the space tourism business.

 

 

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October 4, 2010 - Helen 2 rocket launch, press conference

ARCA held a press conference to communicate the Mission 4B launch results.

 

 

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October 1, 2010 - Helen 2 rocket successfully launched. The first Google Lunar X Prize flight

ARCA has successfully launched the Helen rocket and completed the first flight in the Google Lunar X Prize Competition. The rocket was launched this time with only one stage. Balloon ascent took 40 minutes to an altitude of 46,000 ft (14,000 m). The flight data were transmitted to the command centers of ARCA and Civil Aviation. At that altitude the rocket was separated from the balloon and the engine ran for 30 seconds placing the rocket to an altitude of 131,000 ft (40.000 m). More details about this event after the press conference, which will take place, on October 4.

 

 

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August 4, 2010 - Mission 4, Helen rocket launch attempt

Today took place the Mission 4 launch attempt for the Helen rocket. ARCA team, and the launch equipments, were transported on the Black Sea on-board NSSL 281 Constanta Navy ship. The launch procedures were carried out perfectly, but the helium balloon envelope ruptured and the team could no longer continue the launch. The next launch attempt will take place in October 2010, using a newly built balloon.

 

 

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April 28, 2010 - Mission 5, avionics flight test for the Helen rocket

In order to test the Helen rocket avionics (radio/satellite command/telemetry parameters and the live video transmission), ARCA performed Mission 5. The Helen capsule was lifted to an altitude of 17,000 ft (5200 m) by a manned hot air balloon. The maximum distance between the carrier balloon and the command center was 42 km, which corresponded with Helen rocket safety zone.

The mission results were:
- the TV system worked well, the video signal being received for about 90% of total emission time;
- radio and satellite telemetry systems worked perfectly during flight;
- two, out of three command systems worked perfectly, both on satellite and radio. The third on radio, failed.

Balloon crew: Mihai Ilie - pilot, Mugurel Ionescu - copilot, Dumitru Popescu - avionics equipment operator.

Helen 2 space rocket will be launched in very short time during the already scheduled Mission 4.

 

 

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February 4, 2010 - Google Lunar X Prize Summit

The Google Lunar X Prize Summit was held at NASA JPL in Pasadena, California. During the Summit the teams discussed about competition regulations, shared own experience and learned from previous NASA planetary missions. Also, the teams were informed about the latest NASA's projects of planetary exploration.

 

 

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November 17, 2009 - Helen rocket launch attempt

The first launch attempt took place on November 14, 2009 during Mission 3. The rocket launch procedure was carried-out successfully, but the 7,060,000 ft3 (200,000 m3) balloon inflation, directly on the sea surface, wasn't properly performed. The balloon envelope was entangled with the inflation tubes. ARCA and Navy divers efforts to untangle the balloon proven successful after six hours, but because of the winter season the sun was near sunset. Since a solar balloon was used and the envelope couldn't be heated by the sun, the launch was canceled.

 

 

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October 31, 2009 - Helen rocket loaded on-board Navy's Constanta Ship

The Helen rocket stages and the solar balloon were loaded on board of Navy's NSSL 281 Constanta Ship.

 

 

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September 28, 2009 - Helen Program presented at the Air Force Flight Tests and Research Center

Dumitru Popescu presented Mission 3 flight during the Aviation Testing Capabilities Conference, at the Fir Force's Flight Tests and Research Center.

 

 

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September 9, 2009 - Helen rocket, Mission3 launch announced

The new Helen vehicle that will fly on Mission3 has three stages: Demonstrator 2, 2B and 2C. Demonstrator 2 and 2B were created between 2003-2004 during the Ansari X Prize Competition. Demonstrator 2C is a new rocket created in 2009. The ELL avionics payload will be transported on this flight by the Helen vehicle. Helen will be transported at 14000m with the world's largest solar balloon. At this altitude the first stage will start and after 3 minutes the third stage, and the payload will reach space. The ELL avionics capsule will be recovered with parachutes. The Mission 3 will take place in late August, early September.

 

 

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March 6, 2009 - Propulsion tests for Helen and Stabilo vehicles

The propulsion tests for Stabilo and Helen rockets, that will carry the Google Lunar X Prize ELL vehicle into a suborbital flight in 2009, are underway. Hybrid and monopropellant engines are tested.

 

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