Local aerospace company Exos Aerospace Systems & Technologies has Texas-sized plans for its rockets.
Originally founded in 2015, Exos Aerospace specializes in the production of reusable rockets. The Greenville-based company is one of only three in the United States licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to launch reusable rockets, having received its license in 2018. The other two companies are Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Exos Aerospace makes and tests rockets, including its Suborbital Active Rocket with Guidance (SARGE-1), which has had four successful flights since 2018. The company has flown payloads for multiple universities and research institutions, according to its website.
In addition to being one of NASA’s flight service providers, Exos Aerospace also contracted with the U.S. Air Force in 2020 to convert the SARGE-1 rocket design into a hypersonic rocket for national defense purposes.
Most recently, the company partnered with students from Purdue University to test how different payload materials would fare in a launch, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The company is also currently in the process of developing an orbital launch vehicle called Jaguar.
The Dallas Express sat down with John Quinn, co-founder and CEO of Exos Aerospace, to discuss the company and its future plans.
Quinn described his company’s achievements in the years since it was founded as “incredible,” saying it accomplished similar feats as its competitors but with a much smaller team.
“We have six guys who are full-time, and they went from [a] napkin design of a hypersonic reusable launch vehicle based on the SARGE series vehicle to actually hovering that vehicle in just one year,” said Quinn.
“We’re doing with millions on a smaller scale what they do with billions,” he added.
Quinn said that while some companies have made it their mission to get more people into space, Exos Aerospace is dedicated to creating a “fully autonomous delivery system” oriented towards building productive capacity off planet.
“Short of the moon, we also believe that we can put a lab in space to leverage the thousands of experiments that have been done on the International Space Station,” said Quinn. “And we can actually manufacture in space [autonomously] and then bring those products back to Earth to better Earth without having to put people up there.”
Quinn said that Exos Aerospace can supply the launch vehicles that can make such endeavors viable and economical. He said he hopes to have such a program up and running in three years.
The company has engaged in multiple partnerships with other entities to advance current technologies and reduce the amount of space debris left behind by non-reusable rocket systems.
“One of our affiliate companies … called Scorpius Space Launch Company … actually manufactured the tanks and the tube sections of the rocket that we developed for the U.S. Air Force,” said Quinn. “It helped us to reduce 30% of the payload, dramatically quadrupling our payload capacity and actual revenue capacity.”
Quinn explained that the company’s rockets could even be used in the medical field, particularly for incubating activated stem cells.
He said his father experienced multiple strokes that left him debilitated. Quinn said he believes that a delivery system, such as the one his company is developing, could make possible the mass production of activated stem cells in space that can help treat such afflictions.
Research done aboard the International Space Station has suggested that the microgravity environment of low orbit provides an “improved environment for stem cell growth and expansion” and that the life of stem cells can be extended with little threat of microbial contamination.
“I want to help my dad, but I also want to help the tens of thousands of people like him, and this is just what we know today from the hundreds of experiments that were successful on the ISS,” said Quinn.
Exos Aerospace plans to continue its mission of developing efficient and cost-effective approaches to space travel and research.