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Newest Hybrid Power System from Santa Barbara’s LaunchPoint Pushes the Boundaries of Drone Capabilities

GOLETA,California – Fast-growing aerospace startup LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, Inc. has released its latest hybrid-electric generator system, a patented design that harnesses the combined power of traditional fuel and electricity to expand the capabilities of drones.

The LaunchPoint HPS055 GenSet is a 5.5kW, highly efficient, high-specific power generator and hybrid electric power/engine controller system that utilizes specialized electric machine and

GenSet technology to enable extended range flight. Drones installed with the 5.5kW GenSet can travel farther and carry more load than those fitted with other hybrid power system models, expanding the possibilities for these types of aircraft.

LaunchPoint’s latest creation builds upon other boundary-pushing technology the company has released in the past year, including a 40kW GenSet and Modeling Advanced Aircraft Propulsion (MAAP™) software suite that can be used to explore a vehicle’s powertrain through multiple configuration scenarios for electric and hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion systems. The 5.5kW GenSet can be utilized in both military and commercial drones and is currently shipping to customers for applications ranging from global security to inspection and mapping to cargo delivery. Demand is expected to continue to grow as the market for electricity-powered aircraft takes off.

“We’re immensely proud of this groundbreaking system. Our master researchers and engineers have spent years optimizing and perfecting our hybrid-electric and electric flight systems, and this newest GenSet is a high point for us,” Chief Technology Officer Michael Ricci said. “We’re excited to get this out into the world and for LaunchPoint to continue fueling the growth of this burgeoning industry.”

In addition to its power and range, benefits of the 5.5kW hybrid power system include a battery management system (BMS), in-flight self-charging capability, and liquid-fuel-powered generator. Drone operators can switch between liquid fuel and electricity depending on power demands and have a dependable backup energy supply to complete a mission and land safely in the event that an aircraft runs out of fuel or, alternatively, if the batteries discharge too fully.

“Our patented technologies eliminate the risk of several conventional failure modes seen in electric power systems and provide multiple levels of redundancy,” said LaunchPoint’s Vice President of Business Development and Sales, Chris Grieco. “Our highly-intelligent control system actively monitors all aspects of operation during takeoff, hover and cruise flight and landing and responds as needed, assuring both optimal functionality and reliability through mission objectives. This will be seen in real time when the genset flies in drones this year for large, key government customers.” 

This innovative technology is scalable and offers new opportunities for companies working to develop extended-flight, airborne transportation and cargo delivery systems for what is known as the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market.

Features of the HPS055 GenSet include:

  • 5 kW continuous power/5.5 kW peak at 25 °C ambient and sea level conditions with fuel consumption of 810 g/kWh, self-cooled by air even in hover/zero airspeed conditions
  • 7.5+ kW peak power when paired with a recommended 14s battery pack
  • Self-starting, in-flight GenSet shutdown and restart capacity
  • A LaunchPowerTM Power Management Unit (PMU) and Battery Management System (BMS) that enable system monitoring, protection, and power sharing between battery and GenSet to maximize system performance and energy resource utilization in adverse conditions (high-hot). The BMS also enables safe full-discharge and recharge of battery as part of mission profiles
  • Controller Area Network (CAN) communications for full system monitoring and control; Can also operate in “stand-alone” mode with only a simple on/off signal from flight controller
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Commercial application of the HPS055 GenSet using a conventional 2-stroke engine.

Started in 2020 as a spinout from Goleta-based technology incubator and think tank, LaunchPoint Technologies, LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, Inc. has secured multiple patents, product sales, and contracts for both commercial and government markets. Late last year, the company closed an oversubscribed round of seed funding, which it has used to fuel key investments for new hires, manufacturing capabilities and its growing patent portfolio.

LaunchPoint recently obtained International Organization for Standardization (ISO9001) certification, positioning the company for continued expansion within the global aerospace industry.

–For more information about the LaunchPoint HPS055 GenSet, contact Chris Grieco, Vice President of Business Development and Sales, at 805-679-3072 or via email at [email protected]

–LaunchPoint EPS is located at 5735 Hollister Ave., Suite B, in Goleta. For more information call 805-683-9659 or visit https://www.launchpointEPS.com

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