Super Strypi with HiakaSat at KTF (cropped).jpg
Super Strypi rocket on the launch pad
FunctionExpendable launch system
ManufacturerUniversity of Hawaii
Aerojet Rocketdyne
Country of originUnited States
Height17 m (56 ft)[1]
Diameter1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) [1]
Mass28,240 kg (62,260 lb) [1]
Payload to 400 km SSO
Mass250 kilograms (550 lb)
Associated rockets
Launch history
StatusIn development
Launch sitesBarking Sands
Total launches1
First flight3 November 2015

SPARK, or Spaceborne Payload Assist Rocket - Kauai, also known as Super Strypi,[2] is an American expendable launch system developed by the University of Hawaii, Sandia and Aerojet Rocketdyne.[3] Designed to place miniaturized satellites into low Earth and sun-synchronous orbits, it is a derivative of the Strypi rocket which was developed in the 1960s in support of nuclear weapons testing. SPARK is being developed under the Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System (LEONIDAS) program, funded by the Operationally Responsive Space Office of the United States Department of Defense.


SPARK is designed as a three-stage all-solid carrier rocket, with a spin-stabilized first stage known as LEO-46 and an active attitude control system on the second and third stages. It is launched using a new rail-guided system.[4] It is expected to have a payload capacity of 250 kilograms (550 lb) to a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi).[5] Launches will be conducted from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands.[6] Aerojet Rocketdyne will produce the motors for all three stages and Sandia is the prime contractor for the rocket's systems. The United States Air Force has provided launch support.



See also: Operationally Responsive Space Office § ORS-4

The first launch of SPARK, named ORS-4, took place on November 3, 2015[7] and was carrying HiakaSat (formerly called HawaiiSat-1[1]) and several secondary payloads,[4][8] including the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks.[9] The mission was supposed to test the rocket at its full payload capacity. However, telemetry showed the rocket tumbling soon after liftoff, and the U.S. Air Force released a statement, saying that the "experimental Super Strypi launch vehicle failed in mid-flight shortly after liftoff".[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d Graham, William (November 3, 2015). "Super Strypi conducts inaugural launch – Fails during first stage". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  2. ^ "HawaiiSat-1". eoPortal Directory. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "SPARK". Gunter's Space Page. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b Stephen Clark (30 October 2015). "Inaugural launch of small-class rocket on hold in Hawaii". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Overview" (PDF). Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  6. ^ Taylor, Brian. "Innovative Satellite Launch Program" (PDF). School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  7. ^ Spaceflight now
  8. ^ "Missions". Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory, University of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  9. ^ Hall, Loura. "Swarming Space for Science". NASA. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  10. ^ "Live coverage: Maiden flight of Super Strypi launcher fails". Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  11. ^ "'Super Strypi' Rocket Suffers Failure Shortly After Launch". Retrieved 2015-11-03.