CATS Prize Entry

The Pacific Rocket Society, in association with Trans Lunar Research and Interorbital Systems, is competing in an international contest to launch the first "non-governmentally funded" rocket to space with its Research Series-2 (RS-2) sounding rocket.  The "Cheap Access To Space" or "CATS" prize requires that the rocket be built with no government funding and that it hit an altitude of 120 miles (200km), carrying a 2kg payload. The official announcement of the CATS Prize occurred in November 1997 at the Space Frontier Foundation's Conference in Los Angeles. The SFF acts as administrating agency for the prize.The winning team could take home as much as $300,000. The IOS/TLR/PRS team, consists of Roderick Milliron (chief designer/project leader), Randa Milliron (manufacturing support, PR and fundraising), with electronics and ground support by Kevin Baxter and Dave Silsbee, machining by Dave Griffith, software by Fred Holmes, composites and stress analysis by Dr. Andre Lavoie, and  machining and launch support by Oliver Forget.

Because the contest will generate a massive amount of international media coverage, we'd like to announce that we are actively seeking major sponsors who can benefit from the exposure and the action, adventure, fire, smoke and speed nature of this project. You can have your logo down the side of either or both of the rockets, on the team jumpsuits and gantry, much in the same way logos are displayed in auto racing. Those who secure sponsorships for us will receive a finder's fee on any cash donations they generate. Contact us for further information at 661-824-1662 (weekends) or at

We're going for Space! Let your logo fly with us!


  • RS-1 Test Launch Successful---Sets Burn-time RECORD

On Sunday, September 12, 1999, a boiler-plate version of the RS-1 sounding rocket (the RS-1 is stage-2 of the RS-2) with a blowdown pressurant system  lifted off  at the Mojave Test Area in California (the IOS design team are members of the Pacific Rocket Society). Due to a procedural error, the rocket was launched with its propellant  tanks pressurized to half their design pressure. The engine performed as it should at this low pressure, yielding approximately half of its design thrust (500 pounds). Because  this version of the RS-1 operates in the blowdown mode, the  thrust gradually decreased as the pressure in the tanks decreased, leading to a very long, but remarkably smooth burn in a low-thrust mode. The burn time was 32 seconds---setting a record for in-flight burn  time on a non-governmentally funded liquid rocket. Under these conditions,  the rocket reached an altitude of around 8,000 ft (design altitude was 35,000 ft) and was   recovered  three miles downrange. The flight computer data chip survived and is being analyzed. The smooth performance  of  the GPRE-500NF engine at low chamber pressure (between  100 and 150 psi) proved the engine can be efficiently throttled between 150 and 500 pounds of thrust. The engine, designed to be reusable,  was recovered undamaged.

wpe1.jpg (10455 bytes)wpe1.jpg (8223 bytes)
wpe1.jpg (3546 bytes)wpe1.jpg (2908 bytes)
Research Series-1 (RS-1)

The launch of an enhanced RS-1 with a regulated pressurant  system and a partial propellant load,  is scheduled for October. A fully fueled version the enhanced RS-1 will be flown in December (launch license dependent). Its design altitude is  200,000 ft (61 km).

The RS-1 is the second stage of the RS-2 high-altitude sounding rocket (max altitude: 255 km) and will be flown with its booster in the CATS prize competition next year.

  • Test of 50-foot launch rail and gantry successful

AN IOS-designed portable launch rail and gantry system was recently erected and tested. It proved to be simple to transport and easy to raise. All components can be carried in one pickup truck and the system can be erected by a crew of four in two hours. The rail will provide intial guidance for the RS-2 rocket.

     wpe1.jpg (14258 bytes)wpe1.jpg (5959 bytes)
IOS Gantry and 50-foot Launch Rail