Rocket Lab Announces Neutron Development Update to be Provided on December 2, 2021

Neutron booster (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 24, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR)–Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced that it will provide the first major update on the development of the Neutron launch vehicle on December 2, 2021 at 8:00 am EST. The virtual event will be streamed live via Rocket Lab’s YouTube channel, which can be accessed at that time at https://youtu.be/A0thW57QeDM.

Join Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck as he reveals new details about Neutron’s unique design, materials, propulsion, and reusability architecture for the first time.

Building on Rocket Lab’s proven experience developing the Electron launch vehicle, the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually since 2019, the advanced Neutron launch vehicle is designed to transform space access by delivering reliable and cost-effective launch services for satellite mega-constellations, deep space missions and human spaceflight. Where Electron provides dedicated access to orbit for small satellites of up to 300 kg (660 lb), Rocket Lab expects Neutron will further expand space access for satellite constellations and provide a dependable, high-flight-rate dedicated launch solution for larger commercial and government payloads, and that Neutron will incorporate the best innovation of the past to deliver a rocket for the future.

Argentina Resumes Development of Tronador II/III Satellite Launch Vehicle

Daniel Rocca explains to the delegation the work that is carried out in CEPI facilities. (Credit: Audiovisual Photo/MINCyT Press)

PIPINAS, Argentina (CONAE PR) — Minister Daniel Filmus announced that in 2022 4,500 million pesos [US $44.78 million] will be allocated to relaunch CONAE’s Access to Space program, which includes the manufacture of vehicles to place satellites weighing up to 750 kilos [1,653 lb] into orbit, in addition to the associated auxiliary infrastructure and the launch bases.

(more…)

ESA and CNES Collaborate on Creation of New European Space Transport Hub

PARIS (CNES PR) — In order to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in its space access policy, CNES and ESA are working together to create a new European space transport hub. Last August, the two agencies formalized their wish to continue the co-location of their launch teams while giving the possibility to any public or private entity in the European space transport sector to join. This hub would thus become an emblematic space and launch vehicle center, it would serve as a pole of attractiveness and influence for the sector.

This grouping of the main players in the field would promote synergies and innovation by sharing means, resources and skills in order to ensure the successful operation of the Ariane and Vega launchers, while actively preparing future generations of systems. launch.

This hub project is of strategic interest to the actors concerned. A call for expressions of interest is launched from November 16 to December 31, 2021 by ESA and CNES in order to identify the actors interested in this project and to size it. The scope of this project is Paris and the inner suburbs. Final approval of the project will be taken at the end of 2022.

Nanoracks Announced as First Payload Services Provider for Maritime Launch

Cyclone 4M (Credit: Maritime Launch Services)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, November 19th, 2021 (Maritime Launch Services/Nanoracks PR) – Maritime Launch Services, one of Canada’s leading aerospace firms and the owner of the country’s first commercial spaceport, announced that Nanoracks, a Voyager Space company and the leading commercial payload provider to the International Space Station (ISS), will serve as the company’s first client when Spaceport Nova Scotia’s operations go live in 2023. For this first mission, Nanoracks will deploy customer SmallSats and host spacecraft technology demonstrations.

(more…)

South Korea Plans to Build 100 Metric Ton Reusable Rocket

Yonhap News reports that South Korea is planning to develop a new large booster.

Assemblyman Cho Seung-rae, secretary of the Democratic Party of the National Assembly’s Science, Technology, Information and Broadcasting and Communications Committee, said at a briefing after discussing with the party, “From next year, we have decided to start developing a reusable, high-performance liquid engine rocket with an output of 100 tons.”

Rep. Cho explained, “In order to complete the large-scale space tasks currently being pursued, such as self-propelled lunar landing in 2030 and self-construction of a Korean-style satellite navigation system in 2035, with domestic capabilities, additional development of high-performance liquid rocket engines is required after the Nuri.”

He said, “The high-performance liquid rocket engine to be developed by Korea plans to apply reuse technologies such as multi-stage combustion, re-ignition, and thrust control. We have succeeded in developing various space launch vehicles since the 2010s.”

Accordingly, the government plans to start the ‘Space Challenge’, an advanced development project next year, and has decided to increase the amount by 4.5 billion won next year and 7.5 billion won in 2023, respectively.

Virgin Orbit, ANA Holdings Sign MOU for 20 Launches From Japanese Airport

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

ANA HOLDINGS, owner of ANA ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA), which has been awarded SKYTRAX’s respected 5-Star Rating every year since 2013, establishes a new space business as an exclusive distributor of Asia’s first air-launch service.

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 04 , 2021 (Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Orbit, the responsive launch and space solutions company that has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA), today announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with ANA HOLDINGS INC., the owners of Japan’s largest airline, to procure twenty flights of the LauncherOne rocket and to lead the effort to provide funds and support for those orbital missions to launch from Japan’s Oita Prefecture. The terms of the MOU call for ANA HOLDINGS and several of its partners to fund the manufacturing of a new set of the mobile ground support equipment used to prepare Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system for flight from a pre-existing runway, with a target of making Oita a LauncherOne-ready spaceport by as soon as the end of 2022, pending appropriate regulatory approvals in the United States and Japan.

(more…)

Skyroot Aerospace Signs Launch Contract, Eyes $40 Million Raise

Vikram boosters (Credit: Skyroot Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Indian launch startup Skyroot Aerospace last week reported that it has signed a launch deal with satellite provider Dhruva Space as the company gears up to raise an additional $40 million next year to fund its booster development.

(more…)

ABL Space Systems Raises $200 Million Series B Round

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (ABL Space Systems PR) — ABL Space Systems has closed a $200 million expansion of its Series B investment round, bringing the company’s valuation to $2.4 billion. The round was led by and comprised of ABL’s existing investor syndicate. ABL has now raised a total of $420 million since founding.

ABL is serving a large manifest of active contracts with fourteen distinct customers across the commercial, defense, intelligence, and science sectors totaling over 75 launches, not including non-binding memoranda or letters of interest.

The funding will be used to scale production of the RS1 launch vehicle and to conduct research and development of future systems.

About ABL Space Systems

Founded in 2017, ABL develops low-cost launch vehicles and launch systems for the small satellite industry. ABL is headquartered in El Segundo, California, U.S. To learn more, visit www.ablspacesystems.com.

Successful Static Test of German/Brazilian S50 Rocket Engine with DLR Participation

S50 solid rocket motor during static burn test in Brazil. (Credit: ©DCTA/IAE)
  • Brazil is working together with DLR on the development of rocket motors and subsystems.
  • The S50 solid rocket motor will form the first two stages of the Brazilian VLM-1 launcher and the first stage of the European VS-50 sounding rocket.
  • The first successful static burn test of an S50 solid rocket engine was carried out in Brazil on October 1, 2021.

SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil (DLR PR) — On October 1, 2021, an S50 solid rocket motor successfully passed a static burn test on the Usina Coronel Abner (UCA) premises in São José dos Campos in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. In the future, these solid-fuel motors will power the first two stages of the new Brazilian VLM-1 launcher for microsatellites. The test was conducted by a technical team from the Brazilian Aerospace Institute (IAE) on behalf of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and the Brazilian Ministry of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA). As part of the long-term cooperation between Brazil and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the now tried and tested rocket motor is being used in a new sounding rocket for Europe.

(more…)

Skyrora Signs Decade-long, Multi-launch Deal with Shetland Spaceport

Skyrora XL lifts off the launch pad. (Credit: Skyrora)

EDINBURGH, 12th October 2021 (Skyrora PR) — British rocket company Skyrora has agreed a multi-launch deal with the SaxaVord spaceport on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands, as it moves closer to launching its XL rocket in 2022. This is the first agreement Skyrora has made with a Scottish Spaceport. If successful, this could be the first rocket to go to space from the UK. The multi-launch agreement with SaxaVord will run for the next decade, giving Skyrora the ability to build towards their target of 16 launches a year by 2030. 

(more…)

Environment Engineer Says Assessment of SpaceX Boca Chica Expansion is Deceptive, Incomplete and Illegal

Starhopper aborts a hop attempt at Boca Chica. (Credit: SpaceX webcast screen shot)
  • Assessment authors accused of submitting false emissions numbers
  • Report leaves out entire structures and their environmental impacts
  • FAA accused of illegally fast tracking approval using less rigorous environmental assessment than required by law

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

An environmental engineer has raised serious questions about the completeness and appropriateness of a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) that covers SpaceX’s major expansion of its Starbase rocket launch and test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

According to a 12-part series on the blog ESG Hound, the assessment that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released for public comment last month violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to evaluate all of the impact of the project, which sits amidst environmentally sensitive saltwater wetlands.

(more…)

Honda Introduces Initiatives in Space, Electric VTOL Aircraft & Avatar Robots

Lunar avatar robot (Credit: Honda Motors)

Taking on Challenges in New Areas while Leveraging Its Core Technologies

TOKYO, September 30, 2021 (Honda Motor Co. PR) — Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today introduced the technology development direction the company is currently pursuing for the challenges Honda is taking on in new areas while leveraging its core technologies. This direction leads to the fulfillment of Honda’s 2030 Vision of serving people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life’s potential.”

These new areas include a new challenge in the field of outer space, an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, and an avatar robot with a goal to expand the range of human ability.

(more…)

Space System Command’s Launch Enterprise Awards Four Prototype Agreements

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SSC PR) — Space Systems Command (SSC) is partnering with industry on prototype projects to invest in next-generation rocket engine testing and upper stage resiliency enhancements.

SSC’s Launch Enterprise today awarded FY21 prototype projects for Raptor Rapid Throttling and Restart Testing; Liquid Methane Specification Development and Testing; and Combustion Stability Analysis and Testing to SpaceX for $14.47 million, for Uplink Command and Control for Centaur V to United Launch Alliance for $24.35 million, for Upper Stage Development for Neutron to Rocket Lab for $24.35 million, and for Cryogenic Fluid Management for Glenn Stage 2 to Blue Origin for $24.35 million, under the National Security Space Launch program using the Space Development Corps’ Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC).

Prototype projects for orbital transfer and maneuver are anticipated for award in early FY22, pending congressional approval of the FY22 budget request;

Draft Environmental Assessment Recommends Starship/Super Heavy Launches From Boca Chica

Super Heavy/Starship system in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

The draft document, available for download as a PDF here, says the FAA’s proposed action “is to issue one or more experimental permits and/or a vehicle operator license to SpaceX that would allow SpaceX to launch, which can include landing, Starship/Super Heavy. SpaceX’s goal is to use Starship/Super Heavy for low Earth orbit, sun-synchronous orbit, geostationary transfer orbit, and interplanetary missions for cargo and humans.”

(more…)

Agnikul Cosmos Signs MOU to Use ISRO Facilities to Develop Launch Vehicle

Agnibaan small-satellite launcher (Credit: Agnikul Cosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Indian startup Agnikul Cosmos signed a framework memorandum of understanding (MOU) with India’s Department of Space on Friday for access to ISRO facilities and expertise for the development of its two-stage small-satellite Agnibaan launch vehicle.

(more…)