Welcome to release 1.28 in the Rocket Report! Lots of news this week, and lots of good, with Stratolaunch to…
Welcome to release 1.28 in the Rocket Report! Lots of news this week, and lots of good, with Stratolaunch to achieve an important test, Firefly wins a sweet contract from NASA, and the H3 gets its first commercial flight. All in all, a good week in the launch.
As always, we welcome the reader’s posts, and if you do not want to miss a problem, subscribe, use the box below (the form will not be displayed on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will contain information about small, medium and heavy-duty races as well as a quick glance at the next three launches in the calendar.
Branson says that Virgin will reach space before Christmas . The entrepreneur behind Virgin Galactic told CNN Business at the end of November that he is “pretty sure” his space tourism company can reach its milestone before the end of the year. “I would obviously love to prove our critics wrong, and I’m pretty sure we’ll do it before Christmas,” said Richard Branson. VSS Unity Spacecraft has previously flown to a height of 32 miles.
Test Pilots First … Branson repeated that he plans to fly into space on one of the early flights (space, in this case, means breaking a height of 50 miles.) Test pilots will fly the first missions, but then he and some family members will fly before customers who have paid for their tickets will go. Branson still believes that Virgin Galactic will reach space with people before Blue Origin does. Stop us if you’ve heard this before.
The New York company takes a long shot of the SmallSat launch . Launcher Launcher told SpaceNews that it has employed Igor Nikishchenko, who has more than 30 years of experience It is the development of liquid fuel engines, as its main designer. Previously, Nikishchenko worked as deputy chief designer in the floating propulsion department of the Ukrainian space industry Yuzhnoye and for the Italian launch company Avio.
Willing to Wait … According to the report, Launcher is interested in oxygen rich staged combustion, similar to that used for the RD-180 engine, but with a smaller engine for a smallsat rocket. The company is targeting a payload of up to 300 kg for low lane but does not plan to get a rocket ready for commercial launches until 2026. Of course, it’s one and a half in the fast-developing launch market for small satellites. (filed by Ken the Bin)
Firefly among winners of monthly salary . Firefly, which develops the Lost Beta launch car, was among the bidders chosen by NASA for the award of a commercial Lunar Payload Services contract, SpaceWatch reports. They will now be eligible to win organizational decisions for the delivery of small scientific experiments to the Moon’s surface.
To the moon and beyond … “In conjunction with our Beta launch car and Our partnership with Intuitive Machines, Firefly, will offer an integrated range of monthly services, from launch to Moon’s surface, says Fireflys CEO Tom Markusic. It seems clear that the Texas launch company has ambitions beyond just a small deal.
Stratolaunch tests full-power engine burner . Stratolaunch’s 3D-Printed Burner has undergone its first hot firing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, Geek Wire Reports. A combustor is a key component that usually starts with a rocket engine combustion process, and this hot firing indicates that the company succeeds in the PGA engine, named after founder Paul G. Allen.
Moves fast ] … The company indicated that its engineers had designed, built and tested the burner in 11 months. “According to public records, this is the fastest combustion trend in US history, says Hanna Steplewska Kubiak, Stratolaunch’s Vice President for Business Development. We are not sure about it, but it leads us to believe that the company’s first rocket can really fly with its intended target by 2022. (filed by Ken the Bin)
Rocket Lab puts the launch window for the fourth mission . Rocket Lab is approaching the company’s third orbital launch of the year and fourth overall flight of its electron rocket. The company said it would try to perform mission training for Nanosatellites (ELaNa) -19 for NASA between 13-21 December. Lift-off is planned between kl. 4:00 AM and 8:00 AM UTC from Rocket Lab launch site in New Zealand.
A big step forward … “It is a glory and privilege to launch NASA payload on Electron and be the first launch of small satellites to fly under a NASA Venture Class Launch Services agreement, says Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. From our perspective, it’s only a month after the company’s first fully commercial mission, it’s Business Time, would be a big step forward for the company. [Inlagt av Ken the Bin]
SpaceX misses a Falcon 9 landing ]. After successfully landing its Falcon 9 rocket 26 sequentially on the coast and at sea, SpaceX missed one for the first time since June 2016. “Grid nice hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea,” SpaceX founder and leading designer Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the rocket broke down. The event is quite dramatic. The failure came after the successful launch of the CRS-16 mission to deliver the an international space station.
Effect of this Vulnerable … It is not clear how this (if at all) could affect the company launch manifesto. The company has a further mission scheduled for 2018, an important GPS launch for the Air Force. But SpaceX had not planned to recover that booster anyway. We expect SpaceX engineers to learn from this and continue to improve their system.
Soyuz passenger car returns safely to flight . Less than two months after a booster separation problem with a Soyuz rocket caused a dramatic landing with high gravity, the Russian vehicle pushed back to space on Monday. The launch from Kazakhstan under the clearest blue skies was nominal, and each of the first, second and third stages of the rocket usually fired.
Back in business … The launch sent NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko in space aboard their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. This marked a critical launch for both Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos and NASA, as it means that the only single line of the partnership to the International Space Station is back in business.
China sets the landing page launch date . China has officially announced that it will launch a Chang’s 4 mission to the multi-moon moon on Saturday, December 8, Beijing time (Friday afternoon in the United States, 18:30 UTC), Space Policy Online reports. Landers and robbers will fly into space on a Long Mars 3B rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
A first for China? … This is an ambitious mission for China, which earlier this year launched a spacecraft to facilitate communication between landlords, robbers and land. The six-wheel rocker is 1.5 meters long, and although it looks very like Yutu, its chief executive, Wu Weiren, Xinhua Xinhua, said that adjustments were made for the different terrain on the other side and the need to communicate through Queqiao relay satellite . (submitted by BH)
Same Falcon 9 flies for the third time . Monday’s launch of a 64-bit Falcon 9 rocket marked the first time a single orbital racket ever took off and landed vertically for a third time. SpaceX has chosen not to waste time, money or mass by painting over the used rockets, so that they have a distinctly burned and sober look.
Block 5 bent their muscles … This was an exciting step forward for SpaceX, who had just flown its previous Falcon 9 rockets twice. This Block 5 core has now flown three times in seven months and can be pushed to service again in the beginning of 2019. Will it all go to its goal of 10 flights? We have to wait and see.
The H3 rocket gets its first commercial flight . According to Peter B, the Sense of Space Intel Report Japan’s new H3 rocket has found its first commercial customer: satellite operator Inmarsat. The rocket, which will debut in 2020, will strive to launch the unspecified Inmarsat mission in 2022.
An important step … With the more cost-effective H3 rocket, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries strives to increase the number of launches it performs from four per year to about eight. The only way the company can really do is sell more commercial launches. This is no easy feat on an increasingly crowded market with boosters offering service to the geostationary transmission system. Ars investigated this question in depth in November.
Europa Clipper can fly on a Falcon Heavy. It’s far from sure, but NASA is serious about flying the sixteen Europe Clipper science mission on a Falcon Heavy rocket. Current law mandate flying the spacecraft on a space launch system rocket, which would have the payload to Jupiter’s Moon in less than three years. But mission engineers try to protect themselves from the possibility of more delays in the development of SLS, Ars reports.
Do you want to fly on SLS, but … NASA found adding a Star 48 “kick-scene” would allow Clipper to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to Jupiter without requiring a Venus flyby , which introduced thermal complications to the mission. “Nobody says we do not go to SLS,” said Barry Goldstein, project manager at Europa Clipper, in a closed meeting. “But if we do not have it, we do not have the challenge of the inner solar system. It was a big development. That was a big deal for us.”
Delta IV Tunga switches for next flight . The big booster built by the United Launch Alliance is scheduled to make its second flight in 2018 on Friday. The launch of the NROL-71 Mission for the National Reconnaissance Office would be from Vandenberg’s Air Force Base in California and is scheduled at 08:18 PT (4:19 AM UTC Saturday).
One to enjoy . .. This will be the 38th flight for a Delta IV rocket since 2002 and the 11th for the Delta IV Heavy Three-Killer variant. If skies are clear this should be a spectacular launch for the west coast to enjoy. And with just four famous Delta IV heavy launches left on the manifesto, watch one before this big rocket goes sometime in the 2020s.
Dec. 7 : Long March 3B | Chang 4 lands and rover | Xichang Satellite Launch Center | 17:30 UTC
Dec. 8 : Delta IV Heavy | NROL-71 spy vehicles | Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. | 4:19 PM UTC
Dec. 13 : Electron | ELaNa-19 missions | Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand | 4:00 PM UTC