EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (USAF PR) — Last summer, the Department of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise requested a RAND Corp. study of the heavy lift launch market.
The RAND study, released today, confirms the heavy lift launch market is unlikely to support more than two U.S. launch providers in the long term, and highlights the short term schedule risks of transitioning to new providers. The National Security Space Launch Phase 2 strategy assumes a limited market and mitigates much of the transition risk. The Department is pleased the RAND report supports the major elements of its National Security Space Launch strategy.
PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA has set up an ‘open call’ for proposals from European commercial entities for new services in the domain of space transportation to space, in space, returning from space, or any combination of these.
This permanently open call is part of Boost! – ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services Element 1 to support European economic operators in developing and deploying new commercial space transportation services.
To be eligible, the economic operator should demonstrate that its space transportation service is a ‘complete offering’. This means that customers should not need to procure any additional essential service elements such as access to facilities, transport or logistics, to obtain the full service.
The following excerpts from the report summarize North Korea’s counterspace strategy and its launch vehicle and satellite programs.
North Korea has no demonstrated capability to mount kinetic attacks on U.S. space assets: neither a direct ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) nor a co-orbital system. In its official statements, North Korea has never mentioned anti-satellite operations or intent, suggesting that there is no clear doctrine in Pyongyang’s thinking at this point.
The following excerpts from the report summarizes Iran’s counterspace strategy and its launch vehicle and satellite programs.
Iran has a nascent space program that includes building and launching small satellites that have limited capability, although it has experienced several recent failed launch attempts. Technologically, it is unlikely Iran has the capacity to build on-orbit or direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) capabilities, and little military motivations to do so at this point. Iran has demonstrated an EW capability to persistently interfere with commercial satellite signals, although the capability against military signals is difficult to ascertain.
Virgin Orbit completed a cryogenic captive carry flight test with a fueled LauncherOne rocket aboard for the first time, clearing the last hurdle before Richard Branson’s company can conduct the maiden flight of the air-launched booster.
OITA, Japan/LONG BEACH, Calif., April 2, 2020 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based small satellite launch company, has announced a new partnership with Oita Prefecture to bring horizontal launch to Japan.
With the support of regional partners ANA Holdings Inc. and the Space Port Japan Association, Virgin Orbit has identified Oita Airport as its preferred pilot launch site — yet another addition to the company’s growing global network of horizontal launch sites — in pursuit of a mission to space from Japan as early as 2022.
Stratolaunch has unveiled a pair of hypersonic test bed vehicles and a reusable spacecraft the company plans to launch from its giant dual fuselage airplane.
“Talon-A is a fully reusable, autonomous, liquid rocket-powered Mach 6-class hypersonic vehicle with a length of 28 feet (8.5 m), wingspan of 11.3 feet (3.4 m), and a launch weight of approximately 6,000 pounds (2,722 Kg),” the company’s website said.
SWINDON, UK (Black Arrow PR) — On the 50th Anniversary of the first successful British rocket launch, the Black Arrow name is reinvigorated asBlack Arrow Space Technologies starts up in business.
Black Arrow Space Technologiesis a new British company developing spaceflight technologies designed to launch satellites into orbit. Black Arrow unique offer is their seaborne launch system – commercial rockets launched from their own Space Ship! This will enable Britain to offer a global service unavailable elsewhere in the world, bypassing many of the issues faced by land launches.
The company is seeking to bring in about $250 million at a price of $220 a share, according to people familiar with the financing. The new raise would value SpaceX at around $36 billion, up from $33.3 billion previously.
The round is not expected to close until the second week of March, those people told CNBC, and includes an equivalent purchase offer to existing SpaceX shareholders.
SpaceX did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment. The details of the raise could change depending on market conditions between now and the second week of March.
Last year SpaceX raised $1.33 billion across three funding rounds. It’s one of the most valuable private companies in the world and, with consistently oversubscribed capital raises, SpaceX shares rank as some of the most in demand of any pre-IPO companies as well.
The steady fundraising comes as SpaceX continues development on three important programs: Crew Dragon, Starlink and Starship.
MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — The Virgin Orbit team has been firing on all cylinders as we button up our first orbital LauncherOne rocket and make final preparations for our upcoming launch demonstration.
Camden County is facing a series of significant challenges in winning FAA approval to build a spaceport for vertical launches in the coastal Georgia county. At the root of the county’s problems: the launch site isn’t actually on the coastline.
“Camden County’s application includes populated areas within an overflight exclusion zone. Camden County has not demonstrated that it can control and manage the population in the vicinity of the proposed launch site, particularly on Little Cumberland Island,” according to a letter the FAA sent to county officials on Oct. 17.
MENLO PARK, Calif. (Airbus Ventures PR) — European space company Isar Aerospace has closed a 17-million-dollar Series A investment round led by Earlybird and Airbus Ventures to develop low-cost launch vehicles dedicated to deploying and resupplying satellite constellations.
Existing investors Vito Ventures and UVC Partners participated in the round alongside Bulent Altan who served 12 years at SpaceX including Vice President positions as well as Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has upheld a pre-award protest by Blue Origin over the selection process the U.S. Air Force is using to award contracts for military launches for the years 2022 to 2027.
GAO recommended the Air Force modify the solicitation under which it planned to select two companies that would compete for launches during that period. The decision would have been based on which combination of two independently developed proposals provided the best value to the government.
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE – EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (USAF PR) — The U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile System Center released a Request for Information (RFI) today to learn more about industry’s innovative developments in launch, on-orbit maneuverability, and commodity transport architectures for on-orbit servicing. SMC will use this information to assess if and how it can leverage such capabilities to satisfy National Security Space operational requirements in contested space environments.
“SMC strives to deliver an integrated open space architecture, able to rapidly on-board Allied, commercial & mission partner capabilities and advanced technologies at the speed required to outpace the threat, that enables multi-domain coalition architectures,” said Col. Russell Teehan, SMC’s Portfolio Architect, who leads this study.