Northrop Grumman Teams with Firefly Aerospace to Develop Antares Rocket Upgrade and New Medium Launch Vehicle

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket liftoff from pad 0A at 12:40 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, on Feb. 19, 2022. The Cygnus spacecraft, carrying 8,300 pounds of science investigations and cargo, is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Monday, Feb. 21. (Credits: NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)

CHANDLER, Ariz., Aug. 8, 2022 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Antares rocket and a new medium launch vehicle to serve commercial, civil and national security space launch markets. 

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Firefly Eyes Mid-September Launch for Second Alpha Mission

Second Firefly Alpha rocket on the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

I’ve been making the rounds in the Utah State University Fieldhouse here in Logan talking with the various companies with booths at Small Satellite 2022 conference. Here is the first of several updates.

The window for Firefly Aerospace’s second attempt to launch its Alpha booster opens on Sept. 11. That flight will be out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The rocket is already on the launch pad at Vandenberg undergoing pre-flight tests.

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SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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Cygnus Completes Station Mission After Four Months

Northrop Grummans’s Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured Feb. 21, 2022, approaching the International Space Station carrying 8,300 pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware to replenish the Expedition 66 crew. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — At 7:07 a.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the nadir port of the International Space Station’s Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying about 260 miles over the Pacific Ocean.

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Maritime Launch Services Debuts on NEO Stock Exchange, But Will They Have a Rocket to Fly?

Cyclone 4M

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Maritime Launch Services has debuted on the NEO Exchange, become the latest space company to go public on a stock exchange without any revenues (losses, actually) while avoiding the “rigmarole” (Richard Branson’s words, not mine) associated with a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

In addition to a lack of revenues and a crowded launcher market, there’s another question hanging over the company that nobody can answer right now: exactly what are they going to launch from the spaceport they’re building in Nova Scotia? The Cyclone 4M booster they plan to use is built in Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia.

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Colgate-Palmolive to Launch First-Ever Private-Sector Skin Health Payload on Northrop Grumman CRS-17

Antares rocket on the launch pad. (Credit: NASA Wallops/Terry Zaperach)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., February 16, 2022 (CASISS PR) – When Northrop Grumman’s upcoming 17th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission launches to the International Space Station (ISS), it will carry the first-ever private-sector skin health experiment to be done on the orbiting laboratory. This investigation from PCA SKIN, a Colgate-Palmolive brand, will study the effects of microgravity on skin physiology.

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