New Hyde Park, NY – August 2, 2023 — Innovative Rocket Technologies Inc. (iRocket) has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) West to develop engines and stage technology for their next-generation fully reusable Shockwave launch vehicle.  Members from AFRL’s Rocket Propulsion Division at Edwards AFB, California, and iRocket, a privately-owned corporation, agreed on the collaborative effort in June 2023.

“Collaborating with iRocket via a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement includes use of a key facility, equipment, and AFRL expertise to enable both sides to develop, build, test and transition U.S. rocket engines at a fast pace,” said Dr. Shawn Phillips, Chief of the Rocket Propulsion Division at AFRL. “iRocket will have the opportunity to further advance and demonstrate their high thrust technology.  AFRL is very supportive of development efforts for rapid access to space to support Air Force and Space Force needs for 100% reusable rockets.”

Caption: iRocket has exclusive use of the High Thrust Research Facility at Edwards Air Force Base which can test up to ten million pounds of thrust. Required: AFRL Courtesy Photo

iRocket is working to mature technology for their proprietary reusable landing engine technology, which uses liquid oxygen and liquid methane as propellants. AFRL locations and resources will be used to establish a capable testing site to support this objective. iRocket will be conducting propulsion, stage, and potentially grasshopper testing at Test Site 1-56, the High Thrust Research Facility, located at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base. The High Thrust Research Facility is one of only four stands in the United States capable of 10 million pounds of thrust.

“This collaborative agreement with AFRL is an important endorsement of the progress iRocket is making to transform how launch vehicles are powered,” said Blake Larson, former president of Northrop Grumman Space Systems and member of the iRocket board of directors. “The Edwards Air Force Base test facility enables iRocket to demonstrate and advance its capability to serve both national security and commercial space missions.”

The Air Force is also providing additional resources to support iRocket, including Subject Matter Expert (SME) support, test setup components, and site facility support. iRocket is currently supporting the United States Space Force on a TACFI contract to support its rapid responsive launch capabilities.

“We are thrilled to work with AFRL Rocket lab, The High Thrust Research Facility at site 1-56 will be home to iRocket’s testing team to test our next-gen reusable engines and evaluation of grasshopper testing for our Shockwave vehicle”, said iRocket CEO Asad Malik.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to further our RDT&E efforts to advance responsive space capabilities of interest to the Department of Defense (DoD)” said Julie Carlile, Deputy Chief of the Rocket Propulsion Division. 

About iRocket

Founded in 2018, iRocket is revolutionizing the space industry as the first fully autonomous and 100% reusable rocket manufacturer. Backed by some on the world’s amazing investors, iRocket’s mission is to make access to space affordable and help close the “digital divide” by building the next generation of rockets focused on reusability 2.0 that will help transport thousands of small satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), that will shape the future of autonomous vehicles, Telemedicine, 5G High-Speed Internet, The Internet of things (IoT), National Security and online education. Utilizing cutting-edge 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology, we’re dedicated to providing reliable and rapid access to space at a low cost. Our innovative design addresses the inefficiencies in the industry, while our proprietary reusable engine technology positions us as the leading small launch service provider. Join us on our journey to bring rocketry into the 21st century. We hope you’ll join our journey to space.

For more about iRocket, visit us at and follow us on LinkedIn @iRocket Twitter at @iRocketUSA.

About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit

Caption: iRocket has exclusive use of the High Thrust Research Facility at Edwards Air Force Base which can test up to ten million pounds of thrust. Required: AFRL Courtesy Photo Distribution Statement A: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited. PA# AFRL-2023-3394

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