LOGAN, Utah (SITAEL PR) – Virgin Orbit was selected to launch a SITAEL satellite developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Virgin Orbit and SITAEL signed a launch service agreement at the 31st AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellite.
With Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, SITAEL will launch its μHETsat, a technical demonstration of a new electric propulsion system for ESA and ASI. Established in 1994 and headquartered in Mola di Bari, Italy, SITAEL is the largest privately-owned space company in Italy and provides Small Satellites based turn-key solutions, from mission concept to satellite in-Orbit commissioning.
BOSTON, August 7, 2017 (Accion Systems PR) — Accion Systems and York Space Systems announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a standardized propulsion system for future use with York Space Systems’ spacecraft platform. As part of the intended partnership, Accion Systems will become a preferred provider of standardized propulsion systems, providing York’s customers with state-of-the-art ion engine systems for their spacecraft missions.
“We are thrilled to be working with York Space Systems, one of the most exciting manufacturers of satellites today,” said Natalya Bailey, CEO of Accion Systems. “By leveraging our scalable electric propulsion systems, York’s customers will be able to expand the capabilities and extend the life of each mission, helping create a new standard for what’s achievable in commercial and government space.”
GLASGOW, Scotland (Clyde Space PR) — Clyde Space, Europe’s leading manufacturer of miniature satellites, has announced a partnership with conglomerate Teledyne e2v to deliver a world-first in satellite technology.
Craig Clark MBE, Clyde Space CEO, said in conjunction with Teledyne e2v “We will create a new wave of space applications”.
With a high-tech solution provided by Clyde Space, the project team led by Teledyne e2v working with research partner the University of Birmingham, is using quantum technology to provide a state-of-the-art technical solution capable of creating ultra-sensitive ‘cold atoms’ in space. The project is funded by Innovate UK, the ‘UK’s innovation agency’ and also includes leading edge technology from project partners Gooch & Housego, XCAM, Covesion and the University of Southampton.
LOS ANGELES (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab has completed an internal review of data from its May 25 test flight of its Electron rocket. The review found the launch had to be terminated due to an independent contractor’s ground equipment issue, rather than an issue with the rocket. Rocket Lab’s investigation board has identified the root causes and corrective actions.
Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747, Cosmic Girl, is now in Long Beach after a brief stay at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The aircraft has been modified to air-launch the LauncherOne small-satellite booster.
Although ground vibration tests of the baseline modified 747 have been conducted to check for aeroelastic stability as well as for detecting potential structural issues, a second series of vibration tests will shortly begin in Long Beach to check for aeroelastic response with a mass representing LauncherOne.
“We will get a basic understanding of the interaction between the airframe and the rocket, and that will be a big part of understanding the flight characteristics,” says LauncherOne Chief Engineer Kevin Sagis.
Flight testing will be divided into four main stages, with the initial phase focused on baseline performance of the “clean” aircraft without the pylon or launch vehicle. Phase two will test performance with the pylon attached. Phase three will be divided into two with the initial work testing the pylon with an empty rocket, and a second period of tests with the rocket “wet” and loaded with water. The fourth phase will be a complete dress rehearsal with the rocket prior to the first release and firing flight test. Virgin appears confident the bulk of the work will be completed over the next four months, though no specific target date for the first launch is yet has been disclosed.
A startup named Relativity has conducted more than six dozen test firings of a new liquid oxygen/liquid methane rocket engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, CEO Tim Ellis told a Senate subcommittee last week.
“Relativity is a stealth-mode startup re-imagining the way orbital rockets are built and flown,” said Ellis, who co-founded the company. “We are creating a new launch service for orbital payloads enabled by never-seen-before technologies, allowing for a high degree of launch schedule certainty at significantly reduced cost.”
PARIS, WASHINGTON D.C., MONTREAL, YOKOHAMA, July 13, 2017 (Euroconsult PR) – According to Euroconsult’s latest report,Prospects for the Small Satellite Market, significant expansion in terms of capabilities and demand is underway in the smallsat market. Over 6,200 smallsats are expected to be launched over the next ten years, a substantial augmentation over that of the previous decade (several mega constellations are now included within the scope of this report). The smallsat market from 2017-2026 will be driven by the roll-out of multiple constellations accounting for more than 70% of this total, mainly for commercial operators.
The UK is going all cuckoo for Cocao Puffs over spaceports. Everybody seems to want one, raising the possibility the nation will repeat America’s experience of having too many spaceports without enough vehicles to launch from them.
In any event, the latest candidate to surface involves a remote peninsula in the Scottish Highlands.
A consortium that includes Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace firm, believes that the A’Mhoine peninsula, between Dounreay and Cape Wrath, is the best location in Britain for a spaceport facility.
Video Caption: LauncherOne is powered by two rocket engines—a single NewtonThree on the main stage and a single NewtonFour on the upper stage. Both engines are turbopump-fed, gas generator cycle, LOX/RP-1 engines developed in-house here at Virgin Orbit. Here’s a typical test of the NewtonFour on our test stand up in Mojave, CA, in which the engine runs for a full six minutes—the same duration it would run during a full orbital launch. By popular demand, we’re posting this in real time–all six minutes of rockety goodness!
LONDON (Orbex PR) — Germany’s High-Tech Gründerfonds has made its first investment in the space sector with UK-based Orbex. Founded in 2015, Orbex is building an orbital micro-launch vehicle to insert small satellites into low Earth orbit from Europe.
The Orbex launcher exploits a novel, sustainable fuel strategy to create one of the lowest inert mass fractions of any space launch vehicle ever built. All vehicle subsystems are being developed in-house, including rocket engines, avionics, guidance, software and patent-pending structures technologies.
“Our goal is not just to build a space launch vehicle. It’s to build a complete service offering to help businesses, governments and academic projects get their small satellites to orbit – on time, at a reasonable fixed price, from within Europe,” said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex.
Rocket Lab conducted the maiden flight of its new Electron small-satellite launcher on Thursday from New Zealand. The company reports the booster reached space, but it did not orbit its inert payload as planned.
It was the first of three flight tests of the launch vehicle for the New Zealand-American company from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula. Despite failing to reach orbit, Rocket Lab officials were happy with the results.