Welcome to Rocket Report Edition 3.17! Weather and technical issues allow, we look at a busy weekend in Florida, with a Delta IV Heavy amplifier that rises early on Saturday, followed by the launch of the Falcon 9 on Sunday morning. In the meantime, catch up with all the booster news below.
As always, we welcome readers̵
A new attempt to launch Shepard scrubs. On Thursday, Blue Origin wiped out the first attempt to launch its first New Shepard rocket in December 2019. The mission was to carry out several commercial payloads and some lunar landing technology for NASA. “We found a potential problem with the power of the experiments,” Blue Origin said. The company added that it will try to start again on Friday, September 24, at 15:00 UTC.
Things were moving slowly, but … Some people have begun to take a ho-hum attitude toward New Shepard because it takes so long to serve people and is “only” a suborbital system. But as I pointed out on Twitter, I think it’s still an exciting program and it really takes time to make sure that a system capable of launching loads can do it safely for people as well. (filed by Tfargo04 and Ken the Bin)
ISRO plans two launches in November. After nine months of failure, largely due to problems with COVID-19 at the country’s primary spaceport, the Indian Space Research Organization is planning two launches of its polar satellite launch vehicle in November, according to The New India Express. According to the publication, the PSLV-C49 and PSLV-C50 missions are already targeted this month.
It is best not to suppress the information … This schedule is indicative and is based on effective virus control when employees return to work at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. Employees should report immediately if their family members are tested for viruses. “The suppression of information will be taken seriously and action will be taken,” the spaceport told staff. (presented by Ken the Bin and JohnCarter17)
The German missile company is trying to disrupt the European launch. The co-founder of the German missile company Isar Aerospace said he believed the European launch industry, led by state-backed Arianespace, was ready to shut down. “Europe is where the US launch industry was 15 years ago,” said Daniel Metzler, co-founder and CEO of the Munich-based company, in an interview with Ars.
Serving a growing market? … Isar has grown from 25 to 100 employees this year and is aiming to launch in 2022 for its Spectrum rocket, which is designed to have a launch capacity of up to 1,000 kg to low Earth orbit. The company has not set a start-up price, but is targeting a competitive price of 10,000 euros ($ 11,700) per kilogram. The company believes that there is a growing number of European companies and other groups that will seek affordable access to space for small satellites.
Firefly conducts a successful first stage test. On Saturday, the Texas-based missile company conducted a test on the first stage of the flight of its Alpha missile. The four Reaver engines performed 35 seconds of thrust vector control maneuvers. Firefly described the test as a major step in Firefly’s march to the first flight. This may come in November. (video here)
Deep diving in the owner of Firefly … The mysterious Ukrainian supporter of Firefly, who saved the company from bankruptcy, Max Polyakov, has caused controversy in the aerospace industry for a business portfolio that includes spicy dating sites. The new feature of Bloomberg Businessweek gives some perspective for Polyakov and his interest in space. It’s worth your time. (filed by Ken Ben)
Two suborbital missiles are launched from Australia. The Australian company for launching small satellites Southern Launch said that it has completed two consecutive launches of polar suborbital missiles on a two-stage rocket DART, designed by the Netherlands, reports SpaceWatch.Global. The launches from the Koonibba test site northwest of Ceduna in South Australia were separated by a period of only 1 hour 40 minutes.
The excitement of the public … “As Australians, we have achieved something amazing today, because today in Koonibba, Australia took its first small step towards being a proud nation capable of using space again,” said Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Dump. This appears to have been an attempt to stimulate public interest in Australia, as the company hopes to develop its own orbiters in the future. (filed by cognac)
OneWeb and Arianespace to restart the launcher. After emerging from a period of financial uncertainty, OneWeb says it plans to resume launching satellites into low Earth orbit in order to provide high-speed Internet from space. Prior to its bankruptcy, the company planned to launch 18 more Soyuz Europeanized missile missions, deploying a constellation of 648 satellites before the end of 2021.
Turning from Ariane 6 … Now, under an amended agreement, Arianespace will provide 16 additional launches between December 2020 and the end of 2022. The revised contract canceled two Soyuz launches and removed OneWeb as a customer for the first launch of Ariane 6, SpaceNews reports. According to OneWeb, Arianespace plans to launch commercial services by the end of 2021 for regions including the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland and Canada. (filed by Ken the Bin, Tfargo04, platykurtic and JohnCarter17)
China may see trade as key. A new study by the US Air Force University Brain Trust, titled “China’s Space Story,” assesses China’s use of soft power and diplomacy as potentially powerful weapons that could undermine the United States. One of the topics he is focusing on is the potential of retail space in the coming years, SpaceNews reports.
I envy SpaceX … According to the report, Chinese analysts see the US commercial space sector – and especially SpaceX – as role models for Chinese companies to emulate. China sees the US commercial space industry as a major asset for the United States. The report says China’s private trade sector faces many challenges, including a lack of a supportive political environment and the central government’s favoring the public sector. (filed by JohnCarter17)
Delayed launch of UAE satellite delayed again. The launch of the Russian Soyuz-ST rocket with the UAE’s Falcon Eye 2 satellite from the Kuru launch site in French Guiana, scheduled for October, has been postponed to early November, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported. No reason was given for the additional delay.
Everything slips … The UAE satellite was originally scheduled to be launched on March 6, but was postponed for a day due to problems with the upper stage of the Fregat rocket. Later, the UAE and Arianespace decided to change the scene and postpone the start. As the new coronavirus pandemic continues to gain momentum, all work at the Kuru launch complex has been halted and the mission postponed again. The launch was then scheduled for October. (filed by JohnCarter17)
A starship blows its top. On Wednesday morning – early Wednesday morning, just before 5 a.m. local time in South Texas – SpaceX finally managed to burst a test tank for its Starship project. The so-called SN 7.1 tank is designed to test a new steel alloy that SpaceX engineers believe will be stronger for Starship and Super Heavy vehicles. The failure was intentional.
Watching top pop … The good people at NASASpaceflight.com have a video of a pop that happened after the tank was under pressure. So far, SpaceX has not revealed what pressure the tank exerted before it popped out. Now the focus of the company’s website in Boca Chica will be on preparing the SN 8 – a full-scale duct with covers, a nose cone and three Raptor engines – for the flight campaign. It can be transferred to the launch site today. This will have something to see.
The weather looks good for the Delta IV Heavy launch attempt. The weather conditions this weekend should be favorable for the difficult mission of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV, marking the third attempt to launch the tri-missile from the Air Force on Cape Canaveral, reports Florida Today. The updated forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of “traffic” conditions.
The third time is the charm? … If the schedules hold up, the missile will take off at 12:14 EDT on Saturday (04:14 UTC) from launch complex 37, carrying a satellite to gather intelligence from the National Intelligence Service. The main problems revolve around the clouds. Two previous launch attempts in late August were cleared due to technical problems. The first occurred when problems with the pneumatics in the ground equipment forced the teams to retreat; the second is caused by a torn diaphragm in the pressure regulator just seconds before takeoff. (filed by JohnCarter17)
NASA invites media to the SLS Green Run test. On Wednesday, the space agency opened a registration in the media for access to the first test launch of the main stage of the space launch system. As part of the invitation, NASA said the test is expected to take place in “early November”. Ars plans to be there.
Key test … This will be a big moment for NASA and the main contractor of the main stage, Boeing, which has been working for years to build large tanks for liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and the engine section, which will house the four main engines of the space shuttle. . In a nominal test, the rocket will launch in about eight minutes to simulate an orbital ascent. If the booster passes the test, it will be sent to Florida for a potential launch at the end of 2021 (presented by Ken the Bin)
The next three starts
September 26: Delta IV Heavy | NROL-44 | Cape Canaveral, Florida. | 04:14 UTC
September 27: Falcon 9 | Starlink-12 Mission | Kennedy Space Center, Florida. | 14:43 UTC
September 28: Союз | Three Gonets Satellites Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia 11:20 UTC