STELLAR-J : Why the Name?
"Stellar-J" evokes both winged flight
and passage to distant stars. While the
large bluebird known as Steller's jay ranges over the Pacific coast
and northwest, the winged Stellar-J reusable launch
vehicle will provide access to space from conventional airfields
aiming at low earth satellite deployment and new services not
previously contemplated by the research and small commercial
derives its name from Neptuneís,
large icy satellite. In 1989, prior to the Voyager's Neptune flyby, Wes Kelly,
one of the company's founders, wrote a letter to Science magazine
predicting volcanic activity on this large icy moon, later
describing details in technical papers. Voyager did in fact discover nitrogen geysers on Tritonís surface.
Though generally the phenomenon is attributed to subsurface
greenhouse capture of weak solar energy, Kellyís prediction was
based on the dynamics of Tritonís orbit about Neptune. At
roughly the distance of the Earth's moon, Triton orbits the
oblate, rapidly spinning Neptune at an inclination of 160o
to the planet's equator generating internal energy and stresses.
Connecting the companyís name to solar system exploration,
scientific and engineering analysis serves to remind of its
overall mission objectives: