The Microcosm Scorpius program began in the early 1990’s, and has developed into a family of low-cost expendable vehicles (scalable design) with the potential of dramatically transforming the launch market. The key Scorpius technologies have themselves become products for the aerospace market and other markets. The manufacturing and commercial sales of these items are performed by Scorpius Space Launch Company (SSLC), specializing in:

  • Producing low cost space launch vehicles,
  • Producing related components, such as all-composite tanks and engines
  • Providing affordable on-demand space launch services.

SSLC draws on substantial know-how from Microcosm, which specializes in reducing space mission cost. While Microcosm provides the technology development, SSLC joins the commitment by providing the “3R” dedication: Responsive, Reliable and Reduced cost launch missions. Thanks to its cutting edge expertise in composite manufacturing, SSLC has become the leading company in all-composite cryogenic tanks.

The core technologies have been validated in 2 successful suborbital flights with the Scorpius® SR-S and SR-XM vehicles. The Scorpius® vehicle technologies are applied throughout the whole range of the product family, from low-cost sounding rockets to full orbital launch vehicles, from light to heavy lift.

SR-S Suborbital Flight (see video)
SR-XM Suborbital Flight (see video)

The Scorpius® family of low-cost launch vehicles was developed by Microcosm and its sister company Scorpius Space Launch Company (SSLC). The family of launch vehicles is comprised of the following vehicles:

Vehicle Payload
Mini-Sprite 100 kg (220 lbs) to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO)
Demi-Sprite 160 kg (350 lbs) to LEO
Sprite 480 kg (1,060 lbs) to LEO
Eagle 970 kg (2,139 lbs) to LEO
Liberty 1,920 kg (4,240 lbs) to LEO
Exodus 8,940 kg (19,700 lbs) to LEO
Heavy Lift 18.1 t (40,000 lbs) to LEO
Space Freighter 36.3 t (80,000 lbs) to LEO
Super Heavy Lift 90.7 t (200,000 lbs) to LEO
sprite sizes

The vehicles up to the Liberty size are appropriate for small LEO missions, whereas Exodus and Heavy Lift are appropriate for Large LEO missions or typical GEO/Inter-planetary missions. The Space Freighter and Super Heavy Lift vehicles can be used for very large LEO or large beyond-LEO missions. The Scorpius technology is scalable to vehicles of different sizes. Therefore, the larger vehicles will be built using the same technologies as the smaller ones. The larger vehicles can in principle be built directly at the launch site to save moving costs. Thanks to the Scorpius® launch vehicles’ streamlined operations, launch-on-demand is possible, because the vehicles can be ready for launch within 8 hours of arrival of the payload at the launch site. Given the short, squat configuration of the vehicles, and thanks to their very strong all-composite tanks, it is possible to greatly increase their control authority, and in principle enable all-weather launch through 99.9% of winds aloft. All the vehicles, with the exception of the sounding rockets, use the same configuration and technology elements:


  • 3 stage expendable vehicle
  • 6 outer pods that constitute the first stage
  • A nearly identical inner pod that constitutes the second stage
  • 3rd stage and payload on top
  • LOX/Kerosene, pressure-fed propulsion system
  • Ablatively-cooled engines, essentially identical in the first and second stages
  • All-composite propellant tanks
  • High Performance Pressurization System (HPPS)

Link to Scorpius Space Launch Company website: