Results of EXOS Aerospace SARGE Launch at Spaceport America

SARGE launch at Spaceport America. (Screenshot from Exos Aerospace webcast)

Spaceport America, NM and Greenville, TX (EXOS Aerospace/Spaceport America PR)Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport and EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of reusable space launch vehicles based in Greenville, Texas, announce a successful test launch of their newest vehicle, SARGE.

(more…)

GPS Glitch Limited Altitude of Exos SARGE Rocket

SARGE launch at Spaceport America. (Screenshot from Exos Aerospace webcast)

Space News reports that Exos Aerospace’s SARGE launch from Spaceport America last month failed to reach its intended altitude due to a glitch in its GPS system.

In a mission report provided by the company a week and a half after the launch, Exos said that a GPS receiver on the rocket stopped providing data during the rocket’s ascent. That triggered an automatic shutdown of the rocket’s engine 38 seconds after liftoff, versus a planned duration of 62 to 65 seconds, said John Quinn, chief operating officer of Exos, Sept. 5.

As a result of the early engine shutdown, the rocket reached a peak altitude of 28 kilometers, rather than the planned 80 kilometers. Quinn said an extrapolation of the rocket’s performance during that powered phase indicated the rocket might have been able to reach nearly 90 kilometers had the engine fired for the full duration.

The cause of the GPS unit malfunction in the rocket is still being studied. The unit started providing data again later in the flight, and an inspection turned up no obvious damage to the unit, cabling or antennas. There were separate dropouts of telemetry from the rocket during the flight, according to the mission report.

India Developing Small Satellite Launcher

India is moving to compete in the growing small satellite launch market.

ISRO is working on building smaller launch vehicles that will carry satellites weighing 500 to 700-kg to up to 500 kilometres from the Earth’s surface, the Indian space agency’s chief K. Sivan said….

“The demand for small satellites is growing. Small satellites are going to be used for communication purposes in an enormous way. To catch up with the small satellites market, ISRO is in the process of developing a small satellite launcher,” he said….

“We are working on small satellite launch vehicles. These will be able to launch a satellite of 500 to 700-kilograms in a range of 500 kilometre from Sriharikota (the Satish Dhawan Space Centre),” he said. ISRO will need 50-60 such vehicles every year, Sivan said, noting that the industry should come forward in this endeavour as over the next 3-4 years as the prime focus of the space research agency would be on the Gaganyan.

China’s OneSpace Launches Suborbital Booster

OneSpace launched the OS-X1 suborbital rocket on Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in another step toward orbital flights for the Chinese commercial launch company, according to media reports.

Gbtimes reports the solid-fuel Chongqing Liangjiang Star booster reached an altitude of about 35 kilometer during a 3m 20s flight. The first flight of the suborbital rocket was conducted in May.

The flight was captured from space by the Jilin-1, which was passing overhead at the time.

The suborbital flights are testing technology for the company’s larger OS-XM orbital booster. The company is planning a flight test of that rocket by the end of the year.

The flight came two days after Chinese rival iSpace launched its Hyperbola-1Z suborbital rocket from Jiuquan. iSpace also has plans for an orbital launch vehicle and a space plane.

A third commercial launch firm, Landspace,  plans to launch the orbital Zhuque-1 rocket next month.

Chinese Startup iSpace Launches Suborbital Rocket

Hyperbolic XQS-1X rocket (Credit: iSpace)

Chinese commercial launch provider iSpace successfully launched its Hyperbola-1Z suborbital booster with three payloads aboard from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Wednesday at 1 p.m. local time (0500 UTC), according to media reports.

The 9-meter (29.5-foot) tall, single stage solid-fuel rocket reached an altitude of 175 km (108 miles) and deployed the three suborbital payloads. One of the payloads parachuted back to Earth, media reports say.

In April, the company launched the suborbital Hyperbola-1S rocket to an altitude of 40 km (29.85 miles).

iSpace completed a series A round of fundraising in July that brought the total amount raised to 600 million yuan ($90 million) in 2018. The round was led by Matrix Partners China.

The company has plans to develop an orbital satellite launcher as well as a space plane.

Landspace Nears First Launch

Landspace Zhuque-1 booster (Credit: Landspace)

Gbtimes reports that Chinese startup Landspace is likely to launch the Zhuque-1 rocket next month in what would be the first privately developed orbital vehicle produced in that nation.

Aboard will be a small satellite named Future (Weilai-1/未来一号) for China Central Television (CCTV), which will carry out remote sensing and feature in a TV show.

Zhuque-1 is a 19-metre-tall, 1.35-metre-diameter three-stage rocket with a takeoff mass of 27 metric tonnes, producing thrust of 45 tonnes, making it capable of lifting 200 kg to 500 km Sun-synchronous orbit and 300 kg to a 300 km low Earth orbit.

According to Chinese state media, the rocket will be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. In September another company, OneSpace, will launch the first private suborbital rocket from Jiuquan, following its debut launch in May from a site in northwest China.

“The ZQ-1 rocket is a result of civil-military integration and also a product of China’s positive polices of developing a commercial space industry. In the future it can meet the demands of commercial satellite launches and undertake some tasks for the country,” Landspace CEO Zhang Changwu told CCTV+.

Japan’s Space Walker Aims for Space Tourism Flights & Small Satellite Launches

Credit: Space Walker

TOKYO — A Japanese startup named is developing a new launch vehicle that will orbit small satellites and carry tourists on suborbital flights beginning in 2027.

Credit: Space Walker

Space Walker plans a series of suborbital flight tests with a prototype vehicle. The system will then be outfitted with a second stage capable of launching small satellites into orbit.

Credit: Space Walker

The final version of the Space Walker system would carry six passengers and two pilots beginning in 2027.

The program includes IHI Corporation and JAXA as partners.

The company was founded by Koichi Yonemoto, a professor at Kyushu Institute of Technology who formerly worked at Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Partners in the venture include IHI Corporation and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Micro-Lanchers Market Trends and Outlook 2018 to 2025

Electron launch (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HARRISBURG, NC (MarketInsightsReports PR) — 2018-2025 Micro-Lanchers Report on Global and United States Market, Status and Forecast, by Players, Types and Applications covered key market updates, the impact of regulations and technological updates in new startups entering the space of Global Micro-Lanchers need to carefully pick their niches and genres so that they can compete on an equal footing with global companies who have an end to end development studios, production capabilities and global skills and experience backing them.

(more…)

Orbex, Elecnor Deimos Form Strategic Partnership for Satellite Launches

FARNBOROUGH, UK, July 17, 2018 (Orbex PR) – Following the announcement of Orbex’s £30 million funding round for the development of an orbital space launch system, Elecnor Deimos and Orbex have announced that the two companies have strengthened their relationship: Elecnor Deimos has acquired a stake in Orbex and both companies have signed a strategic agreement, building on previous collaborations between the two companies when successfully bidding together in UK and international tenders.

Under the terms of the agreement, Orbex will become the preferred supplier of all launch services required to place Elecnor Deimos satellites into orbit. Elecnor Deimos will likewise become the preferred supplier of various critical launch systems required to develop and operate the Orbex launcher system, including the Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) system.

(more…)

Lockheed Martin and Orbex to Launch UK into New Space Age

Notional image of the UK’s first commercial spaceport at the Sutherland Site in Melness, Scotland, which will conduct the UK’s first vertical, orbital rocket launch in the early 2020s. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (UKSA PR) — Lockheed Martin and Orbex are investing in space launch operations and bringing innovative new technology to Britain, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced today (Monday 16 July) during the Farnborough International Airshow.

  • Lockheed Martin to establish vertical launch operations in Sutherland, Scotland and develop innovative technologies in Reading, Berkshire with support from two UK Space Agency grants totalling £23.5 million
  • A further £5.5 million will go to British company Orbex to build an innovative new rocket for launch from Sutherland, as part of Government’s modern Industrial Strategy
  • This builds on awards of £2.5m to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland and a £2m development fund for horizontal spaceports such as those planned in Cornwall, Glasgow Prestwick and Snowdonia
  • Government support for launch is the first step towards a potential Space Sector Deal and the development of a national space programme

(more…)

Spaceport Cornwall to Host Virgin Orbit Launches

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl air launch 747 (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

CORNWALL, UK (Spaceport Cornwall PR) — The first British satellite launch in 50 years could take place from Cornwall within the next three years following a new partnership with Virgin Orbit.

Virgin Orbit, a satellite launch company, has selected Spaceport Cornwall as an ideal location to operate and deliver one of the first launches of its LauncherOne system outside of its US home.

(more…)

SpaceX Applies for Permission to Land Falcon 9 Stage at Vandenberg

Falcon 9 first stage comes in for a landing after launching the Zuma payload. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has applied for permission to land a Falcon 9 first stage at Vandenberg Air Force Base for the first time.

The request to the Federal Communications Commission for “special temporary authority” covers a six-month window from September 5, 2018 to March 5, 2019. SpaceX needs permission for communications between the landing site and the returning first-stage booster for the experimental operation.

All previous land recoveries have taken place at Cape Canaveral in Florida. SpaceX has recovered first stages from Vandenberg launches using offshore drone ships.

Phantom Express Engine Testing Advances

The engine is being tested for Boeing’s Phantom Express, which is a DARPA-funded project focused on developing a low-cost, reusable satellite launch vehicle capable of launching 10 times in 10 days.

Chinese Startup One Space Tests Rocket Motor

Solid rocket motor (Credit: One Space)

Chinese launch vehicle developer One Space says it successfully tests the first stage engine of its M-series booster on Wednesday, Space Tech Asia reports.

The success of this test means One Space is on track for the first test launch of OS-M1, the first of its M-series launch vehicles, scheduled for end-2018.

OS-M1, a four-stage solid propellant rocket, will be 19m long, with a liftoff mass of 20 tonnes. The launch vehicle will be able to carry a maximum payload of 205kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and 143kg to the Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Following OS-M1, One Space will test OS-M2, a slightly large version of the OS-M1 that will be able to carry up to 390kg to LEO and 292kg to SSO. With these M-series vehicles, One Space intends to provide rapid low-cost launches for small satellites, with an estimated launch preparation time of only 48 hours.