Rotary Rocket Company was a rocketry company that developed the Roton concept in the late 1990s as a fully reusable single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) crewed spacecraft with a rotating annular aerospike engine to pump fuel and oxidizer to the rim by the rotation and a helicopter rotor on top used for landing.The design was initially conceived by Bevin McKinney, who shared it with Gary Hudson.
Rotary Rocket Company was a rocketry company that developed the Roton concept in the late 1990s as a fully reusable single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) crewed spacecraft.
The design was initially conceived by Bevin McKinney, who shared it with Gary Hudson. In 1996, Rotary Rocket Company was formed to commercialize the concept. The Roton was intended to reduce costs of launching payloads into low Earth orbit by a factor of ten.
A full size, 63 ft (19 m) tall, Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV) was built under contract by Scaled Composites for use in hover test flights. The $2.8 million ATV was not intended as an all-up test article, since it had no rocket engine and no heat shielding. The ATV was rolled out of its Mojave hangar on March 1, 1999, bearing an FAA registry of N990RR.
The rotor head was salvaged from a crashed Sikorsky S-58, at a price of $50,000 –as opposed to as much as $1 million for a new head. Each rotor was powered by a 350-lbf (1,560 N) hydrogen peroxide jet, as intended for the orbital vehicle.The rotor assemblage was tested in a rock quarry before installation on the ATV.The ATV flew three successful test flights in 1999.