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.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has been selected by Virginia-based HawkEye 360 to launch three Electron missions for the radio frequency geospatial analytics provider. The first of the three missions is scheduled to be Rocket Lab’s inaugural Electron mission from Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island, Virginia, ushering in an era of Rocket Lab launches from U.S. soil from no earlier than December 2022.
The complex will be home to production, assembly, and integration of Rocket Lab’s Neutron launch vehicle and is expected to bring up to 250 highly-skilled jobs to the region.
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab”), a leading launch and space systems company, today broke ground on the construction of a state-of-the-art rocket production complex where the Company’s Neutron launch vehicle will be manufactured.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021.
Construction to Begin on Neutron Manufacturing, Operations, and Launch Facilities in Accomack County, Bringing As Many As 250 New Jobs to Eastern Shore
Long Beach, Calif., February 28, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (Rocket Lab), a leading launch and space systems company, today revealed it has selected Wallops Island, Virginia, as the location for its first launch site and extensive manufacturing and operations facilities, for its 8-ton payload class reusable Neutron rocket.
HOUSTON, February 22, 2022 (Nanoracks PR) — The past several months have been very busy here at Nanoracks, and we have continued our momentum into 2022 with another cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Northrop Grumman’s 17th (NG-17) commercial resupply mission carried five Nanoracks customer payloads on board the Cygnus spacecraft. These experiments will help improve environmental research on Earth and demonstrate technology necessary for future in-space economies. Additionally, this mission includes the first two “space trash bags” which will be used to collect waste from inside the ISS and deploy it into a reentry burn orbit on behalf of NASA.
Aerospace leader expected to make significant investment for construction of new Production, Assembly, Integration and Test facility, prepare for launch of new Neutron rocket
RICHMOND, Va. (Gov. Northam PR) — Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Accomack County is a finalist for a proposed expansion by Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in launch services and space systems, which expects to make a significant investment to expand its U.S. manufacturing and launch operations. If selected, the proposal would see Rocket Lab develop a new facility to support part production, assembly, integration and test operations to support the launch of its new Neutron rocket from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Announced by Rocket Lab in March 2021, the Neutron rocket is expected to be operational in late 2024 and is designed to deliver a 17,600 pound payload to low Earth orbit, and may ultimately support human spaceflight.
Faced with increased competition from Texas, Georgia and other states, Florida legislators are eyeing new ways to keep companies launching from the Sunshine State. Florida Politics reports:
Zero G Zero Fee’ bills would create tax exemptions for anything launched into space from Florida.
What if a company could launch a rocket into space from Florida and pay no sales tax on the rocket, its payload, its fuel or even the concrete, steel and equipment needed to create the launch pad?
That would be the reality if lawmakers this Session approve legislation from Sen. Tom Wrightand Rep. Tyler Sirois (SB 1466, HB 65)…
At the same time, Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando has introduced HB 9233, which would provide a $10 million appropriation for Florida to build a new multiuser launch pad at Cape Canaveral. Space Florida, the state’s space business development agency, has talked about the need for a launch pad that could be leased on a per-launch basis by companies that don’t have their own launch facilities, as SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and others do.
WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA has provided an advance release of its NASA Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (NAFTU) software code to the launch industry, a critical milestone toward the final certification of NAFTU, which is on-track for February 2022.
WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA and Northrop Grumman are targeting 5:56 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 10, for the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage of the launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 p.m. NASA also will hold a prelaunch news briefing Monday, Aug. 9.
MAHIA PENINSULA, New Zealand — Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket launched an U.S. Space Force satellite on Thursday in a successful return to flight for the small-satellite booster after a launch failure in May.
The booster lifted off with the USSF’s Monolith technology technology demonstration satellite. Deployment from the booster’s kick stage occurred less than an hour after liftoff from Rocket Lab’s facility on the Mahia Peninsula.
WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of Northrop Grumman’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for NG CRS-16 includes curated launch resources, notifications about interaction opportunities, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.
Northrop Grumman is targeting liftoff of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft for no earlier than 5:55 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10, from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island.
The United States reclaimed the top spot in launches from China last year as NASA astronauts flew into orbit from American soil for the first time in nearly nine years, SpaceX deployed the world’s first satellite mega-constellation with reused rockets, and two new launchers debuted with less than stellar results.
American companies conducted 44 launches in 2020, with 40 successes and four failures. Bryce Tech reports that U.S. companies accounted for 32 of the 41 commercial launches conducted last year. The majority of those flights were conducted by SpaceX, which launched 25 orbital missions.
China came in second with a record of 35 successful launches and four failures. The 39 launch attempts tied that nation’s previous record for flights during a calendar year.
Let’s take a closer look at what U.S. companies achieved last year.
Flight extends flawless record of Minotaur product line to 28 missions
WALLOPS, Va. – June 15, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) launched its Minotaur I rocket today at 9:35 a.m. EDT, successfully placing a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload into orbit. The Minotaur I was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
RICHMOND (Gov. Ralph Northam PR) —Governor Ralph Northam today announced the selection of Major General Roosevelt “Ted” Mercer, Jr., United States Air Force (Retired) as the new Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space). General Mercer was appointed by the Virginia Space Board of Directors this morning and will assume the role on August 1, 2021 upon the retirement of Dale Nash, who has led Virginia Space since 2012.
“Major General Mercer has extensive experience in space with the United States Air Force and in industry, and his proven ability to bring partners to the table to work toward a shared goal will greatly benefit both Virginia Space and the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “Under his leadership, Virginia is poised to maximize the investments we have made in our world-class spaceport and launch into the future as a leader in space exploration, research, and commerce.”
General Mercer brings decades of experience in the aerospace field and executive leadership in both the military and private sectors. In 2016, Mercer was named Director of the Interagency Planning Office for the “NextGen” program at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He later served as Director of the NextGen Collaboration and Messaging Office, where he ensured collaboration and coordination with partner agencies and other countries. Previously, he served 32 years with the United States Air Force, where his duties ranged from commanding the 30th Space Wing to commanding a space lift logistics group, developing national security policy, and serving as Deputy Director of Operations for the Air Force Space Command Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.