Xplore Opens 22,000 sq ft Satellite Manufacturing Facility to Advance Satellite Production

REDMOND, Wash. (Xplore PR) — Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space as a Service® today announced they are opening a satellite manufacturing facility in Redmond, Washington. Their new, state-of-the-art campus is a key step in the company’s mission to expand mass manufacturing of the XCraft® the company’s highly-capable, ESPA-class satellite, and the LightCraft™, Xplore’s highly-maneuverable spacecraft for deep space missions. The company will move into its new headquarters in June 2021.

Angela Birney, Mayor of the City of Redmond, said, “We are delighted that Xplore is establishing its headquarters in Redmond and employing Washington space professionals to grow the space economy.” She continued, “Redmond is a magnet for vision, technology, and talent. Xplore joins our community of thriving aerospace, high tech, and biotech companies, and thousands of small businesses where over 85,000 people are employed. Thank you for choosing Redmond.”

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Axiom Space Raises $130 Million in Series B Funding

Axiom space station (Credit: Axiom Space)
  • Capital will accelerate growth of workforce and development of world’s first commercial space station
  • NASA selected Axiom to begin attaching its privately developed space station modules to the International Space Station as early as 2024
  • Axiom recently revealed the first-ever private astronaut ISS crew, launching in January 2022

HOUSTON, TX, February 16, 2021 — Axiom Space, Inc., which is developing the world’s first commercial space station, has raised $130M in Series B funding. The round was led by C5 Capital and includes TQS Advisors, Declaration Partners (the investment firm backed by David M. Rubenstein), Moelis Dynasty Investments, Washington University in St. Louis, The Venture Collective, Aidenlair Capital, Hemisphere Ventures, and Starbridge Venture Capital.

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Supersonic & Hypersonic Civilian Transport Projects in Development

Overture supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom Supersonic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Boom Supersonic’s recent rollout of its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft marked a milestone in an accelerating race to revive an era of civilian supersonic travel that ended when the Concorde jetliner was retired in 2003.

XB-1, aka Baby Boom, is set to begin flight tests next year from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The Mach 2.2 (2,717 km/h, 1,688 mph) vehicle is the precursor to Boom’s 55-seat Overture airliner, which is scheduled to begin carrying passengers in 2029.

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Program Updates from ISPCS

The second SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by WhiteKnightTwo on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
The second SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by WhiteKnightTwo on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

NASA and various commercial companies gave updates on their programs during the International Symposium on Commercial and Personal Spaceflight this week in Las Cruces, NM.

What follows are summaries that include:

  • suborbital programs (Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin)
  • commercial cargo (SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corporation)
  • commercial crew (NASA, Boeing, ULA).

The summaries are based on Twitter posts from attendees. A big thanks to Thanks to Tanya Harrison (‏@tanyaofmars), Frank Slazer ‏(@FSlazer), Jeff Foust (‏@jeff_foust), Michael Simpson ‏(@SpaceSharer), and Melissa Sampson (‏@DrSampson) for the coverage.

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Blue Origin to Ramp Up Flight Rate

New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)
New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson says the company plans to ramp up New Shepard flight tests as the year progresses.

After completing two successful flights of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle in two months, Blue Origin plans to increase the frequency of future test flights, with dozens more planned before the company is ready to start flying people….

“We expect to shorten that turnaround time over time this year, and fly this vehicle again and again,” he said. Those upcoming tests will use the same New Shepard vehicle that flew the previous two flights, with hardware and software modifications as needed between flights.

Meyerson said the company still plans to perform “dozens” of test flights of New Shepard over the next couple of years before the company is ready to carry people on the vehicle. “It really depends on how the flight test program goes,” he said. “It could be a little faster than that, or it could be a little longer than that, depending on what we learn.”

Blue Origin, though, does expect to start carrying uncrewed research payloads on New Shepard later this year. The company has been working with researchers at Purdue University, the University of Central Florida and Louisiana State University to provide initial “pathfinder” experiments that will fly on the vehicle. “We hope to fly those payloads this year,” he said.

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Blue Origin Looks for Washington State Incentives to Build Rocket Engine

BE-4 staged combustion testing (Credit: Blue Origin)
BE-4 staged combustion testing (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson told business leaders his company looking for economic incentives to build the BE-4 rocket in Washington State where it is being designed.

At its Kent headquarters, Blue Origin employs more than 400 engineers who design and build development models of both its space rockets and the engines that power them.

“Building the engine near the engineering team that designed it … has benefits,” said Meyerson, speaking at the Economic Forecast Conference at the Seattle Westin Hotel. “But there are other factors.”

He lamented the fact that two tax incentives that applied to Blue Origin’s work — the high-technology research business and occupation tax credit and sales-tax exemption — were both allowed to expire at the beginning of 2015.

And he called for the passage of House Bill 2226 in the current legislative session, which would extend to manufacturers of spacecraft the same aerospace-industry incentives available to Boeing and its suppliers in the commercial-airplane business.

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CSF Adds New Member Companies

CSF_logo2WASHINGTON, D.C. (CSF PR) — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomed several new member companies at its Executive Board meeting this week, expanding its membership to more than 60 companies.

Spaceport Camden of Camden County, Georgia joined CSF as an Executive Member. Steve Howard, Spaceport Camden project leader, will represent his organization on the CSF Board of Directors. “CSF’s mission strategically aligns with Camden’s goals, and we are pleased to join other industry leaders as part of this organization,” Howard said.

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