Ravn X Claims World’s Largest UAS, Destined for Launching Low-Earth Orbit Satellites

Ravn X

Ravn X, courtesy Aevum.

Aevum, Inc., a provider of space logistics and autonomous launch services for lightweight payloads, rolls out its Ravn X Autonomous Launch Vehicle, and stakes its claim to the world’s largest unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Ravn X will deliver satellites to space as fast as every 180 minutes, according to the company, which has enlisted the U.S. Space Force as a customer.

Jay Skylus, Aevum founder and CEO, with progeny Ravn X. Images courtesy Aevum.

Jay Skylus, Aevum founder and CEO, with progeny Ravn X. Images courtesy Aevum.

Autonomous launch represents a new form of space access.  Aevum’s Autonomous Launch involves a global, fully-autonomous, self-flying, self-managing, self-operating intelligent system of systems, called the autonomous launch architecture, working in concert to deliver payloads from any terrestrial origin to any space destination in low-Earth orbit. The autonomous launch architecture optimizes every launch, taking into account variables including weather conditions, air traffic, orbital destination, payload weight, ground crew schedules, and other logistics processes to provide an end-to-end service, autonomously. Critical to the Autonomous Launch architecture is the autonomous launch vehicle (AuLV), which flies itself without a pilot and only requires a one-mile runway and an 8,000 sf hangar for operation. AuLV’s use jet fuel and work exactly like an airplane.

With its fleet of autonomous Ravn X vehicles, Aevum will offer on-demand scheduling of precision orbital deliveries, as fast as every 180 minutes, 24/7, with no risk to human life, according to Aevum. Ravn X was built as reusable: 70% reusable out of the gate, it will be up to 95% reusable in the near future. After making its delivery to low-Earth orbit, the UAS returns to Earth, autonomously landing safely on a runway and parking itself in the hangar.

The autonomous launch paradigm dramatically lowers the barrier for space access, in time, cost, and customer experience, and accelerates improvements in billion-dollar industries such as logistics, intelligence, defense, e-commerce, advanced analytics, climate change and weather monitoring, agriculture, IoT and more.

Ravn X is 80 ft. long, has a 60 ft. wingspan, is 18 ft. tall and has a gross takeoff weight of 55,000 lbs.

“The current definition of rocket science doesn’t work for us. With Aevum, everyone will be able to say, ‘It is rocket science and I can do it.’ Aevum is pushing logistics to the next generation with software and automation technologies,” said Jay Skylus, founder and CEO of Aevum. “U.S. leadership has identified the critical need for extremely fast access to low-Earth orbit. Through our autonomous technologies, Aevum will shorten the lead time of launches from years to months. ”

“I’m excited to see the innovation and responsiveness in development today by our small launch industry partners to support emerging warfighter needs,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Chief of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The U.S. Space Force is proactively partnering with industry to support U.S. space superiority objectives. Having a robust U.S. industry providing responsive launch capability is key to ensuring the U.S. Space Force can respond to future threats.”