The state of Hawaii will see its first orbital launch in October 2013, with the first launch of a Super Strypi vehicle.

The Super Strypi, also called the Spaceborne Payload Assist Rocket - Kauai (SPARK), a three-stage, solid-fuel launch vehicle, is being developed jointly by rocket manufacturer Aerojet, Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Hawaii under a grant from the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office.

The launch vehicle will lift a 55kg (120lb) student-built multispectral satellite into orbit from the US government's Pacific Missile Range on the island of Kauai.

"It could be a new economic sector here in Hawaii," says university president MRC Greenwood. "This is a very attractive location for launching small satellites."

The ORS is intended to fund small launch vehicles and satellites capable of launching quickly and cheaply, allowing responsive satellite coverage for smaller units. Satellites are generally large and expensive, and require significant amounts of planning and are reserved for command by high-ranking authorities.

A second launch is planned in 2014, carrying another student-built imaging satellite.

Source: Flight International