Welcome to Rocket Report version 3.30! This week, we celebrate the first time a private company – Virgin Orbit – has entered orbit. Seeing the company’s missile fall from a plane last weekend and go into orbit on its second attempt was impressive.
As usual we are Readers‘ offers are welcomeAnd if you don’t want to miss out on any issues, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-supported versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium, and heavy rockets as well as a sneak peek at the next three launches on the calendar.
Virgin Orbit goes into orbit. On Sunday afternoon, Virgin Orbit joined the rare company club that specifically developed and successfully launched a rocket into orbit. Moreover, with the launch of the LauncherOne missile from the 747, the California-based company became the first to reach orbit with a liquid-propellant missile launched from the air.
Just try to launch a second … the journey, which included multiple launches of the top-stage LauncherOne engine and the successful deployment of several NASA micro-satellites, culminates in a nearly eight-year development program and countless technical challenges. I mentioned Ars About some of the new problems that arise with the horizontal launch of a liquid-fuel missile. (Presented by Platecortic and Ken Penn)
Blue Origin may launch humans in April. After the company’s New Shepard-14 flight on January 14, it is planning another unmanned mission before transporting passengers. CNBC Reports. The next test flight, the NS-15, could come as soon as in late February, followed by a manned flight six weeks later, sometime in April.
The schedule is still temporary … the company declined to comment on New Shepard’s schedule, with a Blue Origin spokesperson saying the schedule report „was my guess and has not been confirmed.“ However, this aligns with what we have heard about the company’s plans, which state that another successful flight will conduct human tests. This leaves the door open to the exciting possibility of commercial astronaut flights before the end of 2021. (Provided by Ken the Bean)
Rocket Lab begins its 2021 launch campaign. Rocket Lab successfully launched a communications satellite for the German company OHB Group on Wednesday, in its first electronic mission of the year. SpaceNews reports. Rocket Lab had reversed its original launch attempt for the „another leaves the shell“ mission four days ago due to „strange data“ from a sensor.
Is it really a Chinese satellite? … as the post indicates, there was some uncertainty about the true nature of the payload. OHB described the GMS-T payload as a „50 kg class“ satellite in orbit at 1,200 km altitude and „a prototype of a planned new spacecraft from a communications satellite“. It is thought that the primary customer of the satellite may actually be GMS Zhaopin, a Chinese company planning a satellite constellation. (Presented by Platecortic and Ken Penn)
PhantomSpace working on the Road Discovery Vehicle. The new company said in a tweet on Sunday that it was nearing completion of a development model for its „Daytona“ missile. „This development model is a tool for designing and manufacturing pathway for the aerospace system and will be completed in the first quarter of this year,“ the company said. Tweet (now deleted, But it is archived hereA picture of what appeared to be this road explorer inside the factory, with several people standing around it.
Everything is not as it seems … however, sharp-eyed readers noted that the image appeared to be a rendering or perhaps a composite image of a missile rendered inside an actual factory. (We see Archived image here). In the end, the founder of Phantom Space Game Cantrell shared, say, „Guys, show it – all that. The last time I looked, this is not illegal. Maybe I should review federal law again.“ This may not be entirely true. The missile was delivered, but the photo was, in fact, real. that Originally shown NASA’s Orion engine was aborted, in 2019.
Falcon 9 reuses records and expands the envelope. The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off on schedule Wednesday morning, lifting its payload of 60 satellites to the Internet from Starlink and into orbit. Then came something of the challenge in this first stage – landing gluing. According to SpaceX engineer Jesse Anderson, the winds at the surface near the landing site were stronger than what had been hit by Falcon 9 rockets on previous flights. With a safe landing, she said, she “broadened” the limits of recovery and winds.
This mission reached milestones in other ways … this was the eighth flight of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket – setting a new record for the number of uses of any single rocket core. Ars Reports. The 38-day transformation period since its last launch has largely eclipsed the preceding Falcon 9 Phase 1 transformation margin, which is 51 days.
China launches its first missile in 2021. On Tuesday, a Long March 3B missile launched the Tiantong-1 mobile communications satellite into orbit. The launch was carried out from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, NASASpaceflight.com reports.
More to come … the Long March-3B launch vehicle is decades old and has been used to launch domestic and international satellites. The Chinese government and many commercial companies in the country are expected to launch 40 or more missiles over the next year. (Submitted by Ken Bin)
The French government is seeking to speed up engine testing. French space agency CNES and European missile developer ArianeGroup have reached an agreement to begin testing the Prometheus missile engine before the end of this year. The goal is to speed up the Prometheus schedule by integrating the test program at the Vernon site in Normandy, France.
Need to go faster … Under the agreement, ArianeGroup will receive additional site funding to enable the tests. Europe has a lot of riding on the development of Prometheus, which it considers a „low-cost, reusable“ engine. A new generation of missiles is expected to be put into service after the Ariane 6 and Vega C. „This agreement was signed against the backdrop of increasing global competition in the field of launch vehicles,“ according to a press release.
Boeing completes Starliner updates. Boeing recently completed the formal rehabilitation of the CST-100 Starliner flight program in preparation for its next flight. The company said this week. „The work that this team did in comprehensively unpacking our software is a defining moment for the program,“ said John Vollmer, Starliner Vice President and Program Director. „We are smarter as a team through this process.“
Another launch setting … the rewriting and re-testing of the spacecraft program came after an unmanned test flight of the spacecraft in 2019 failed to complete its mission to dock with the International Space Station. This led to the decision to renew the car program and another flight test without a crew. This next mission, on the Atlas 5 missile, is tentatively scheduled for March 29 (provided by Ken the Bean, Platecortic, and Fargo 04)
Satellogic signs a launch agreement with SpaceX. The Uruguay-based company that builds Earth observation satellites he said to her It has signed a „multiple launch agreement“ to deliver its satellites on the Falcon 9 ride-sharing missions. “What SpaceX has accomplished with its rapid launch schedule is a perfect complement to our Satelogic business model,” said Alan Kharsansky, Vice President, Task and Operations Engineering.
First launch soon … as part of its announcement, the company said SpaceX would become Satellogic’s „preferred vendor“ for co-ride missions, allowing the time between manufacturing and the introduction of its satellites into orbit. The first launch will occur in June 2021. This appears to be a satellogic-like shift It was launched at the beginning On Chinese missiles. (Submitted by Tfargo04, Platykurtic, and Ken the Bin)
Put the launch into perspective. New report From the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, part of the Department of Commerce, he estimated the “gross product” of the US space economy from 2012 through 2018. For the latest available year, the space economy accounted for $ 177.5 billion (0.5 percent) of the US’s gross product. Two sectors dominated the space economy: information and manufacturing.
One piece of pie The study authors say the launch industry falls into this latter category. The value of the „Other Transport Equipment“ sub-category was $ 17.4 billion in 2018 and includes spacecraft and space weapons systems, including ICBMs. The report notes that space reaches a large number of industries, including agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining and utilities, reflecting production related to research and development and remote sensing. (Submitted by TH)
The SLS missile failed to complete a hot fire test. The base stage of a NASA rocket shot to life Saturday afternoon in southern Mississippi, but stopped after just 67.2 seconds. Officials had hoped the test shooting would last for 485 seconds, but they believed they could get enough data with a 250-second firing. Ars Reports. “It’s not everything we hoped it would be,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein He then said.
To test again or not? … a preliminary analysis determined that the test is finished after the on-board sensor reads the pump return pressures slightly below the test limits. This reading came shortly after the missile started rotating or steering its engines. Publicly, NASA officials say they need to review data from the tests before deciding whether to retest Green Run. But internally Ars Reports Indeed, officials lean strongly toward redundancy to collect all the required data. (Submitted by Ken Bin)
Starship gets two mobile space airfields. SpaceX acquired former oil rig rigs to function as floating space harbors for the Starship launch system, NASASpaceflight.com reports. Named Phobos and Deimos, after the two Mars moons, they are currently undergoing adjustments to support Starship launches. Recently, SpaceX has started hiring crane operators, electricians, and marine operations engineers to modify platforms.
There are no concerns about noise here … Although SpaceX enjoys some independence at the Boca Chica launch site, in contrast to Cape Canaveral’s more organized facility, the company could have more freedom overseas. The heavy lift launch vehicle will have a significant explosion risk area and pose noise concerns if fired frequently near populated areas. (Submitted by danneely, platykurtic, martialartstechie, and Ken the Bin)
The next three launches
January 23: Falcon 9 | Carrier 1, Ride Sharing | Cape Canaveral, Florida | 14:40 UTC
January 27: Falcon 9 | Starlink-17 | Kennedy Space Center, Florida | 13:00 UTC
February 15: Soyuz | 77p progress | Baikonur Space Base | 04:45 UTC
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