British spaceports face competition from bases in Europe’s frozen north
While much attention has been focused on Virgin Orbit’s plan to launch from Spaceport Cornwall in England and the creation of launch facilities in Scotland, the development of new orbital spaceports in Scandinavia has largely flown under the radar. But, now one of those Nordic bases is ready for its closeup.
The two companies from Munich’s thriving space industry are set for a flight together in 2023. DCUBED’s release actuator uD3PP will fly aboard the Spectrum, Isar Aerospace’s two-stage orbital launch vehicle on its first test flight.
LOGAN, Utah, Tuesday, August 9 (DCUBED PR) — Isar Aerospace is Europe’s most promising and most well-funded private European launch service provider for small and medium satellite deployment. The company develops the ‘Spectrum’, a two-stage launch vehicle that offers flexible and cost-efficient access to space and is specifically designed for satellite constellation deployment. With a vertically integrated value chain, Isar Aerospace designs, develops and tests the launch system in-house and builds on a highly automated production and state-of-the-art production technologies like 3D-printing. This way, the company achieves maximum flexibility, speed, and autonomy. The first test flight of the Spectrum is scheduled for 2023 from Andøya, Norway.
During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.
On Christmas Day 2021, an European Ariane 5 rocket roared off its launch pad in French Guiana with the most expensive payload the booster had ever carried, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope. The launcher performed perfectly, sending the most powerful space telescope on a journey to its final destination 1.5 million km (900 million miles) from Earth. The launch was so accurate that Webb should have sufficient propellant to perform science operations for much longer than its planned 10-year lifetime.
There was a collective sigh of relief among the European, American and Canadian scientists and engineers involved in the long-delayed program. It was a superb Christmas gift to a world suffering through the second year of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.