The Satellite Launcher is a high altitude plane carrying a small rocket propelled satellite.
|“|| A conventional jet equipped with a small rocket to demonstrate feasibility of rocket launches from high altutude [sic].
The Satellite Launcher may be based on DARPA's ALASA (Airborne Launch Assist Space Access) concept for launching a small satellite into orbit with a rocket carried by an airplane.
The rocket has two stages, the first powered by a 48-7S "Spark" Liquid Fuel Engine and the second powered by a pair of LV-1R "Spider" Liquid Fuel Engines. The upper stage includes the probe core and scientific experiments.
The satellite has 3.65 km/s of delta-V (1.9 in its first stage, 1.75 in the second), which is theoretically enough to reach orbit on its own, but it cannot in practice because it has a very low thrust-to-weight ratio (1.3 for the first stage in atmosphere and 0.8 for the second). The best practice is to place the launcher into a fast and fairly steep climb (20-30 degrees with afterburner active) to allow the spacecraft to use its meager TWR to accelerate rather than fight gravity. If released at a speed of 700 or more m/s and an altitude of 20 or more km, the satellite will achieve orbit with its second stage mostly full, leaving it with approximately 1600 m/s of delta-V -- enough to achieve lunar or interplanetary orbits and, on small bodies, landings.
The stock game cannot track multiple flights in the atmosphere -- as soon as the rocket is far enough away from the carrier, the carrier will be destroyed and the pilot will be lost. A mod such as StageRecovery or Flight Manager for Reusable Stages will be necessary to allow the carrier to be recovered after separation.