Kaboom! ABL Space Destroys Second Stage in Test at Mojave

ABL Space Systems lost a second stage during a test in Mojave on Jan. 19, 2022. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

MOJAVE, Calif. — A loud boom echoed across California’s Mojave Desert on Wednesday afternoon. I would normally pay little attention to it given how common such occurrences are in Mojave. But, this one was different: instead of nearly daily boom-boom of jet fighters from nearby Edwards Air Force Base going supersonic, this one was a single large BOOM!

And oh, there was a giant cloud of black smoke rising from the rocket test area at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Someone’s engine test had clearly gone awry.

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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. 

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Shetland Spaceport Shot Down Over Historic Site Concerns

Launch from Shetland (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plans to build a spaceport on the old Royal Air Force Skaw radar station has been shot down, spelling potential doom for the project and Lockheed Martin’s plans to launch satellites from site in northern Scotland. The Shetland Times reports.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES)  said it would cause “extensive and adverse impact on the cultural significance” of Skaw radar station.

However, SSC chief executive Frank Strang has hit back saying he would “vigorously contest” the refusal.

Mr Strang said he was “greatly surprised” by the decision, claiming HES had  “done nothing to preserve the site for the last 50 years”.

Skaw is the UK’s most northerly Second World War radar station and protected as a scheduled monument of national importance.

The proposed space centre would be built almost entirely with in the RAF radar station site.

It would require the removal of nine buildings, including air raid shelters, guard huts and those associated with the radar system. 

Prospect of Major Boost to Shetland Economy as Space Launch Site Plans Lodged

GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY (Shetland Space Centre PR) — The creation of a space launch facility in Unst will result in hundreds of new jobs and significantly boost the local economy.

Major planning proposals have now been submitted to Shetland Islands Council on behalf of Shetland Space Centre by town planning consultants Farningham Planning Ltd.

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Shetland Space Centre Welcomes Transfer of Lockheed Martin UKVL Pathfinder Programme to Unst

Launch from Shetland (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

HAROLDSWICK, Scotland (Shetland Space Centre PR) — Shetland Space Centre today welcomed the announcement from the UK Space Agency that Lockheed Martin is transferring its satellite launch operations to Unst, creating hundreds of jobs.

UKSA said that the move from Sutherland followed a thorough process of due diligence and the project would deliver long-term value and help establish a sustainable, commercial launch market as part of the UK’s spaceflight programme – LaunchUK.

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Lockheed Martin’s Move to Shetland Spaceport Boosts UK’s Plans for Satellite Launches

  • Lockheed Martin to develop UK launch operations from Shetland Space Centre on the island of Unst.
  • Orbex and Highlands and Islands Enterprise continue to advance launch plans from Space Hub Sutherland.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Hundreds of space jobs will be created in Scotland following the approval of plans for Lockheed Martin to transfer its satellite launch operations to Shetland Space Centre by the UK government.

Shetland Space Centre anticipates that by 2024, the spaceport site could support a total of 605 jobs in Scotland including 140 locally and 210 across the wider Shetland region. A further 150 jobs will also be created through wider manufacturing and support services.

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Shetland Space Centre Receives Initial £2 Million Investment Boost

HAROLDSWICK, Scotland — Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plan to build and operate a satellite launch site has been given a major boost by a £2,050,000 [$2.65 million] investment from Leonne International, the international private equity firm.

The cash injection, which gives Leonne a 20 per cent stake in the business, will be used for future growth of the company, such as the development of the launch site and ground station in Unst.

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Shetland Space Centre Forms Partnership with ArianeGroup for Spaceport Study

Unst Island

GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY, Scotland (Shetland Space Center PR) — The Shetland Space Centre today announces a major partnership with ArianeGroup.

The joint venture, equally owned by Airbus and Safran and lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, will define a concept of operations and assess the range of missions for the SSC spaceport project in the frame of a three-month study. The spaceport will be designed from the ground up to be a commercial facility operated by SSC.

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