In any space project there comes a point to make a decision on whether or not to commit to launching at the planned date. Over the recent weeks, the Stratos IV core team has assessed the feasibility of launching Stratos IV this August. Over the past nine months, we have made huge leaps and strides in designing, building, testing, and financing the launch of the first student rocket to reach space. However, based on the current technical, and financial readiness of the project, we have decided that it is not feasible to commit to launching Stratos IV this August. Given the huge increase in our altitude goal, the required funding has increased too, and while we have been more successful with acquisition than ever, this has also been our greatest hurdle.
Over the past week, the team has been busy adjusting our goals for this year and planning for a new launch. This has resulted in us deciding to delay the launch of Stratos IV until the summer of 2020. This allows us to spend another year finalizing the rocket’s systems and comprehensively testing them. We have the time to add some more payloads and other improvements, as well as allowing sufficient time for dress rehearsals and operations planning. This means when we do move to launching, we will have much higher confidence in the vehicle performing optimally.
We will wrap up this year by holding an event in the middle of June. We would love to welcome you all there to proudly present to you our finished hardware and tell the story of Stratos IV thus far. Details of the event will follow soon! We are immensely proud of all the work the Stratos IV team has done this year. While we have always been aware of these challenges, we have consciously chosen to work towards overcoming them to the best of our ability, and many members have poured a large part if not all of their free time into these monumental efforts. The huge increase in outreach and acquisition, great mass savings, the changes to team structure and dynamic, a near full design cycle in a year, and producing most of a space capable rocket, are all massive achievements and that is essential to remember when contemplating the delay to the launch timing.
Our sincere thanks go out to all of our partners, family and friends, without which this unique project would not be possible. Stratos IV will still reach space, just at a later date, but with a much higher confidence in it making it all the way to the stars when we reach T-00:00:00.
Eoghan Gilleran – Stratos IV Team Manager