Welcome to the Rocket Report 3.15 Edition! In this issue, the realm of small elevators is flooded with news. And as usual, our report covers news from all over the world this week from Germany, China, India and South America. We are a global company.
As always we Reader submission welcomeIf you don’t want to miss any issues, subscribe using the box below (the form doesn’t appear in the AMP supported version of the site). Each report includes information on small, medium and medium lift rockets, as well as a quick forecast for the next three launches in the calendar.
Rocket Lab Launches Photon Satellite. Launch company Said it was The first self-designed and built working satellites were sent into orbit. “First Light” was placed on orbit “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical”, Rocket Lab’s 14th electronic mission, which took off from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on August 31st. The main customer of the mission was a 100 kg microsatellite for Capella. space.
It is no longer a rocket company. … The launch of Photon cements the company’s “evolution from launch provider to end-to-end space solutions company providing turnkey satellite and spacecraft components, launch and orbit.” Press release said. Photon is designed to provide satellites with space services such as power and propulsion, allowing deep space missions to the Moon and Venus as well. (Submit Ken the Bin)
Virgin Galactic sets the next test flight date. Virgin Galactic plans to conduct its next crew space flight test on October 22, according to a document filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). CNBC Report. This flight will be the first of two that the space tourism company has planned to complete testing of the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft system, and only two test pilots will be required on board.
Finally commercial service next year? … Virgin Galactic said last month that a second, yet-dated, spaceflight test will have four “mission experts” on board. If both test flights are successful, Virgin Galactic expects to fly founder Sir Richard Branson in the first quarter of 2021, which marks the launch of the company’s commercial tourism services. (Submitted by Ken the Bin, JohnCarter17 and DanNeely)
LandSpace raises $175 million. Chinese launch company LandSpace has raised $175 million in series C+ round funding for the development of the Zhuque-2 series methane/liquid oxygen launch vehicle. SpaceNews report. The financing comes two weeks after Chinese rival iSpace secured $133 million in Series B funding. Both are impressive cash carriers that show serious intent.
Powerful small rocket … LandSpace is working on the first launch of the Zhuque-2 in June 2021. The 49.5-meter-high two-stage Zhuque-2 is capable of delivering 4,000 kg or 2,000 kg in 200 km of low-earth orbit. 500kg solar synchronous orbit according to LandSpace. (submit platykurtic and Ken the Bin)
NASA Sori Rocket Launches DUST-2 Mission. A two-stage Black Brant IX sub-orbital acoustic rocket launched on Tuesday from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on a DUST-2 scientific mission. NASA said The rocket launched a payload to a peak of about 346 km before parachuting down to Earth.
An inexpensive approach to microgravity … The goal of DUST-2 is to study how individual atoms scattered by dying stars and supernovae stick together. When doing so, atoms form dust particles that are some of the basic building blocks of our universe. “What we’re trying to do is replicate what’s happening in at least two astrophysical environments,” said Joe Nuth, chief researcher, planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. (Submitted by JohnCarter17)
Blue Origin vets start several new companies.. Blue Origin turned 20 this week, and although privately held companies haven’t yet sent people into space or put rockets into orbit, it has spawned a new generation of space startups. Space log report. Space of relativity is pretty well known, but now more companies are emerging in anti-stealth mode.
Launch and space propulsion … one of them, Stoke Space Technologies, appears to be working on a technology that enables higher-level reuse. Reach Space Technologies seems to be a propulsion company. Starfish Space says it is developing a “space transport service on demand.” I’ll add them all to our list of companies to track! (Submit Ken the Bin and BH)
Brazilian launch site evaluation proposal. The Brazilian Space Agency said it has begun evaluating 11 proposals from companies interested in launching rockets at the Alcantara Space Center, located on the North Atlantic coast. Two degrees south of the equator, the site provides the main territory from which you can start equatorial missions.
Switch to commercial use … After the initial analysis, the company has to finalize the offer by October 30th. Parabolic arc report. It’s not clear how many companies the Brazilian space station will accept, but it seems to prioritize companies with mature or almost mature rocket designs. Space stations have so far been used primarily for military launches. (Submit Ken the Bin)
Australian Rocket Company Signs Australian Payload. Gilmore Space Technology Signed An Australian customer who first launched the Eris rocket before 2022. The Space Machines Company has contracted to launch a 35kg spacecraft orbiting. “This could be Australia’s first payload to orbit an Australian rocket at the Australian launch point,” said Adam Gilmour, Gilmour Space’s co-founder and CEO.
Tycoon story till mid 10 years … The first Eris rockets are advertised as having the ability to launch a payload of up to 305 kg into low-earth orbit and 215 kg into a solar synchronous orbit of 500 km. The company’s goal is to achieve 12 launch rates per year by 2025 and accelerate the expansion of the Australian space industry. (Submit Ken the Bin and platykurtic)
Germany considers North Sea launch facility. The German government is working on a proposal from the German industry to create a mobile launch pad for satellites in the North Sea. According to the plan, a small satellite weighing 1 ton will be launched by a German-made rocket. The German Industry Federation is lobbying for this project. BBC report.
Great place for polar firing … Pad will be a public-private partnership. The German media cited the BDI proposal, saying, “The German launch pad is technically feasible, strategically and economically reasonable.” Among the companies that can potentially launch on the platform is Isar Aerospace. (submitted by cpushack, Ken the Bin and JohnCarter17)
China launches secret space plane. After months of brief preparation at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China launched an experimental reusable spacecraft on Friday. SpaceNews report. The Long March 2F projectile led the spacecraft into orbit after launching at an unspecified time.
Is it an X-37B clone? … “After a certain orbital flight, the spacecraft will return to China’s scheduled landing site. The spacecraft will test reusable technology in flight to provide technical assistance for the peaceful use of space,” Xinhua reports: Said like this. Release. The plane landed in space about two days later. This twitter thread NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel provides more interesting details about where the mission landed. (Submit Ken the Bin)
Chandrayan-3 moon mission may be launched next year. India’s “Chandrayaan-3” lunar probe is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2021. DNA India Report. After the Chandrayan-2 mission disappeared in September, the Indian Space Agency said it would attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface again.
Chandra Jan -3 input … The orbiter, launched with the Chandrayaan-2 mission, continues to operate, so this subsequent launch carries only the lander. It will launch GSLV Mark III rockets from India’s Satish Dhawan space center and India will work to become the fourth country to soft land on the moon. (Submitted by JohnCarter17)
China still has a toxic rocket problem.. On Monday, a long March 4B rocket with remote sensing satellites was launched from China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. This 50-year-old space port is located in north central China, about 500 kilometers southwest of Beijing. As often happens in the first stages of Chinese rockets launched from inland facilities in Taiyuan, the used Long March 4B booster fell downstream of the space port. In this case, it landed near the school and, as expected, produced a large cloud of toxic gases.
Hydrazine’s dream (or nightmare) life … the use of hydrazine as fuel for projectiles has been phased out in most of the world. Ars report. The last major American rocket to use hydrazine was the United Launch Alliance’s Delta II rocket, which used toxic fuel in the second phase. However, most of the Chinese launch pads are powered by hydrazine fuel and nitric oxide tetraoxide. These include the human-rated Long March 2F rocket and the popular Long March 4 family.
Delta IV Heavy launch reset on September 18th. The United Lunch Alliance team identified the cause of the dramatic last minute shutdown of the Delta IV heavy rockets late last month. Florida Today Report. This sets the stage for another try a week from Friday and the exact time has not been revealed. This is the third attempt to launch an NROL-44 classified mission.
Extracted from the regulator … On August 29, the diaphragm of one of the three pressure regulators at the launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base 37 ruptured, causing a computer-controlled scrub three seconds before take-off. ULA CEO Torri Bruno Said via twitter on Wednesday. The engine turned on for a while, but the rocket was held firmly to the pads. (Submitted by BH and JohnCarter17)
The military takes a pipe network approach to super-large lifts.. The U.S. military is pleased with the current offerings of the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX, but is keeping an eye on future ultra-medium rockets in development. This is in line with the comments Brig wrote this week. General D. Jason Cothern overseeing the procurement of launch services for the U.S. Space Force (Report on SpaceNews In his opinion).
Will they come if you build it? … “We believe that our current provider covers the plans we have now in the near future.” General Cothern spoke in response to questions from viewers about the potential military value of ultra-medium lift vehicles such as Starship and New Glenn being developed to fly to the moon and beyond. When it comes to what will be needed for the next generation of launch vehicles, “a valuable question for us as a major takeover of the military space,” Cothern said. (Submitted by JohnCarter17 and platykurtic)
SpaceX can roll test tanks this week.. At SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility, the next test will most likely include a test tank that is not a full-fledged Starship prototype. NASASpaceflight.com Report. This “SN7.1” model is a larger test tank than its predecessor, the SN 7, and is made of 304L series stainless steel (or at least a variant of that alloy). It’s likely to be pushed to the point of the burst so SpaceX engineers can understand the limits.
Ready for another pop … 304L may not be the “final” alloy but SpaceX hopes to utilize it for Starships and Super Heavies in the long term future, but all previous Starships are made of 301 series alloys. Future versions starting with SN8 will use the new alloy. Two launch mounts are available, so we don’t yet know if the SN7.1 will take place on Starship’s regular mount or second test mount. (submitted by platykurtic)
Next three releases
September 11: Rocket 3.1 | Astra Demo Mission | Alaska Kodiak Space Airport | 02:00 UTC
September 17: Falcon 9 | Starlink-12 Mission | Kennedy Space Center, Florida | 18:17 UTC
September 18: Delta IV Heavy | NROL-44 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | Undefined