Relativity Signs Agreement with Spaceflight for Rideshare Launches

LOS ANGELES, May 6, 2019 (Relativity PR) — Relativity, the world’s first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellite constellations, today announced it signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider. Under the LSA, Spaceflight will manifest missions to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) on Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket, the world’s first and only entirely 3D-printed rocket.

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Air Force Releases Proposal Request for Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement Contract

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — The Space and Missile Systems Center, in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office, released a request for proposals May 3, for the purpose of competitively awarding firm fixed-price, indefinite-delivery requirements contracts to two domestic launch service providers. These “Launch Service Procurement” contracts are for National Security Space launch service procurements in fiscal year 2020 through 2024 for missions launching through 2027.

This solicitation strategy is a full and open competition allowing companies to compete for procurement contracts regardless of whether they have a current Launch Service Agreement development contract.

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Will Alcântara Finally Stop Being the Spaceport of the Future?

Cyclone 4 launch pad under construction. (Credit: Alcantara Space)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Brazil’s decades-long effort to launch satellites from its underused Alcântara Launch Center could finally be bearing fruit.

On Monday, Brazil and the United States signed a Technology Safeguards Agreement that will allow American companies to launch orbital rockets from Alcântara.
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Firefly, Airbus Sign MOU to Partner on Launch Solutions for Constellations

CEDAR PARK, Texas, March 19, 2019 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services, announced today the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus) to develop new space launch solutions for Airbus customers.

“Firefly is pleased to enter into an MOU with Airbus to formulate an integrated market offering that will provide Airbus customers rapid deployment of Airbus manufactured satellites,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “We are very impressed by the versatility and low cost of the Airbus ARROW platform and Airbus’s investment in leading edge satellite mass production capabilities. We look forward to working closely with Airbus to bring economical launch solutions to their customers. This initial MOU covering several launches is the first step of a long-term relationship which will provide Airbus customers the highest level of flexibility for their small satellite launches.”

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Microlaunchers to Grow Europe’s Economy

Five feasibility studies on launch services using microlaunchers in Europe, contracted within ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme in 2018, proposed solutions for economically viable and commercially self-sustaining microlaunch services. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A flourishing small satellites market is driving demand for new ways to access space. Recent industry feasibility studies backed by ESA for new microlauncher services, are creating new business opportunities.

ESA intends to strengthen European industry by fostering a globally competitive European space sector with increased industry participation in launcher development.

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Large Innovation in a Small Southern Town: Building Northrop Grumman’s OmegA

Iuka employees take pride in over a 20 year legacy of producing large composite launch vehicle structures. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

IUKA, Miss. (Northrop Grumman PR) — In a small Mississippi town, a group of scientists and engineers recently gathered to discuss their next project: building large aerospace composite structures for Northrop Grumman’s new OmegA rocket. OmegA is being designed to launch the U.S. Air Force’s most critical spacecraft for U.S. national security missions.

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PLD Space Opens Facilities at Teruel Airport

Minister Pedro Duque, Raúl Verdú and Raúl Torres, Co-founders of PLD Space, during the open ceremony. (Credit: PLD Space)

TERUEL, Spain, 26 February 2019 (PLD Space PR) — The Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Mr. Pedro Duque Duque, the first astronaut in the history of Spain, has unveiled the PLD Space Propulsion facilities located at Teruel Airport.

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Gilmour Space Unveils One Vision Rocket Ahead of Suborbital Test Launch

One Vision Booster. (Credit: Gilmour Space)

Gold Coast, QLD — Australian rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, today unveiled its ‘One Vision’ rocket which it plans to launch later this month, and conducted a live demonstration of its automated mobile launcher, the first of its kind in Australia.

“One Vision is a scaled version of our Ariel sounding rocket, and its main objective will be to flight-test our proprietary hybrid rocket engine for commercial orbital launches starting in 2020,” said the company’s CEO & Founder, Adam Gilmour.

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Orbex Unveils Prime Rocket at New Facility in Scotland

Prime launch vehicle (Credit: Orbex)

Reveals World’s Largest 3-D Printed Rocket Engine and Confirms First Satellites to be Launched from Scotland

Forres, UK, February 7, 2019 (Orbex PR) – Orbex has publicly unveiled its Prime rocket for the first time at the opening of its new headquarters and rocket design facility in Forres in the Scottish Highlands.  Designed to deliver small satellites into Earth’s orbit, the rocket was unveiled at an opening ceremony attended by VIPs from the UK and European space community as well as local community stakeholders.

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SpinLaunch Signs Lease with Spaceport America

Spaceport America has announced that SpinLaunch has signed a lease to conduct tests at the facility in southern New Mexico.

“An addition of 20 new jobs will be added locally, as well as investment by SpinLaunch of $7 million in construction capital and $1 million in local infrastructure development for the company,” the spaceport said in a press release.

SpinLaunch is developing a kinetic energy launch system that would spin in a circle at up to 5,000 miles per hour before it is released to fly to space. The system would not use any propellants.

Albuquerque Business First has some additional details on the Spaceport America deal.

The California company is leasing acreage from the commercial space hub near Truth or Consequences and will build a facility employing at least 20 people, according to spokeswoman Diane Murphy. It will include a launch site that Murphy said will serve as a testing grounds for its launching technology.

Spaceport CEO Dan Hicks said there was potential for a lease extension. SpinLaunch will invest $7 million in facility construction and $1 million in infrastructure development. The deal is important for the $220 million taxpayer-subsidized Spaceport, which has struggled in the past to secure tenants….

Murphy also said the company considered several locations for the test site, but that Spaceport provided the best mix of affordability and location. New Mexico’s renewable energy potential, universities and young labor pool were also considered assets.

SpinLaunch raised $40 million in venture funding last year. Most of the money came from Airbus Ventures, Alphabet Inc.’s GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

David Hall Proposes New Technology Solution for Space Exploration

Washington (Velodyne Lidar PR) — David Hall is one of history’s rare technological visionaries with the imagination and technical wherewithal to recognize a problem, conceive a solution, and then build something that works. On December 6 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s event, LAUNCH: Industry Taking Off,

David Hall presented his world-changing solution to a longstanding problem: how to carry materials and people into space safely, reliably, and efficiently. The audience of industry, military, and policy representatives heard from Hall as well as keynote remarks from Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson; NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine; Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Michael Griffin; NOAA Deputy Administrator, Dr. Neil Jacobs; and Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

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Potentially Historic Flights Loom in Mojave

View of SpaceShipTwo Unity from the tail boom. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

It looks as if things could get very busy here at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the coming weeks with a possible pair of historic milestone flights.

Sir Richard Branson has said he expects SpaceShipTwo Unity to make a flight into space before Christmas, which is just over two weeks away. Sources say a flight is highly likely barring technical or weather delays.

Parabolic Arc has also heard that Stratolaunch could attempt the historic first flight of its massive carrier aircraft before the new year.
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Ariane 6 Moving Forward

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This has been an intense year for Ariane 6 development, with progress boosted across Europe: plants are manufacturing new parts using novel methods, all engines have been tested, and the construction of launch facilities is well underway.

ESA has worked with an industrial network led by prime contractor ArianeGroup, of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including 350 small- and medium-sized enterprises, to fine-tune the design and start production. Meanwhile, France’s CNES space agency has been preparing its launch facilities at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

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Inmarsat to be First Commercial Customer for Japan’s New H3 Launch Vehicle

H-III launch vehicle variants (Credit: JAXA)

London/Tokyo, December 6, 2018 (Inmarsat/MHI PR) – Inmarsat (LON: ISAT), the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, has today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) to be the first commercial customer to place an order for the new H3 launch vehicle. The maiden flight of H3 is scheduled for 2020 with Inmarsat planning to deploy the new launch vehicle after 2022.

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