In 1997, as part of a space privatization trend encouraged by the federal government, Mr. Beal started an aerospace company to build rockets with the goal of placing communications satellites in orbit. Operating with more than 200 employees from a 163,000-square-foot space in Frisco, TX, Beal Aerospace focused on a three-stage, 200-foot-tall rocket. Powered by hydrogen peroxide and kerosene, the engine eliminated the need for a separate ignition system because, as the hydrogen peroxide oxidized, it ignited the kerosene.
On March 4, 2000, Beal Aerospace tested the BA-810 Stage 2 engine which was the largest liquid rocket engine built since NASA's Apollo program of the 1960s. The 810,000-pound vacuum thrust hydrogen peroxide/kerosene engine made a 21-second firing at the company's engine test facility in McGregor, Texas.
Here are two video clips of that successful test:
WFAA-TV, Channel 8 Dallas-Ft. Worth (ABC)
Used with permission of WFAA
NBC 5, KXAS-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth
Used with permission of KXAS
In light of competition from new NASA-funded group initiatives, Mr. Beal closed the company and ceased operations on Oct. 23, 2000, citing the difficulty a private company faced in competing with the governmental subsidies of NASA.