Having It All Come Together, but Not In House: Phantom Space’s Approach to Launch

Illustration of Daytona rocket launch. (Credit: Phantom Space)

By David Bullock
Staff Writer

As companies like Astra Space and Virgin Orbit seek a steady stream of orbital payload customers that will bring in profits, there is another company that plans to launch its Daytona rocket for the first time in 2023. Phantom Space, run by CEO Jim Cantrell, already has customers lined up for future orbital launches like its peers.

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J-Space Partners with Virgin Orbit to Bring Sovereign Air-launch Capability to South Korea

Virgin Orbit Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 takes off from the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

J-Space has contracted Virgin Orbit to develop a South Korean launch site plan, paving the path for expanded space markets and new investor opportunities in South Korea and the surrounding region.

LONG BEACH, Calif. and SEOUL, South Korea, August 09, 2022 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), a leading launch provider, announced today that it has signed an agreement with South Korean investment group J-Space. The agreement will allow the companies to assess candidate spaceport launch sites in South Korea, with the goal of providing satellite launch services from there using Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne System. The cooperative effort is designed to act as a catalyst to the burgeoning Korean small satellite and space solutions market, stimulate local economic growth, and provide the South Korean government with a flexible and responsive launch capability in support of a wide range of mission applications.

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Northrop Grumman Teams with Firefly Aerospace to Develop Antares Rocket Upgrade and New Medium Launch Vehicle

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket liftoff from pad 0A at 12:40 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, on Feb. 19, 2022. The Cygnus spacecraft, carrying 8,300 pounds of science investigations and cargo, is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Monday, Feb. 21. (Credits: NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)

CHANDLER, Ariz., Aug. 8, 2022 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Antares rocket and a new medium launch vehicle to serve commercial, civil and national security space launch markets. 

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Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.

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The Best Laid Plans: Europe’s Ambitious Launch Year Goes Awry Due to International Tensions, Schedule Delays

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December 2021 on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.

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Astraius Announces Key Suppliers at Farnborough International Airshow

Astraius on track for first satellite launch from Prestwick Spaceport in 2024

Kevin E. Mahaffy, Chief Executive Officer of Exquadrum; Sir George Zambellas, Chairman of Astraius; Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency; Eric E. Schmidt, President of Exquadrum and Mick O’Connor, Programme Director at Prestwick Spaceport (Image Credit: Astraius)

Farnborough, UK (Astraius PR) — Astraius, the UK-based, horizontal launch company, has today announced two key suppliers for its innovative launch solution. Northrop Grumman has been selected as the first and second stage motor supplier, and Exquadrum will provide the upper-stage motor. With these best-of-the-best industry leaders, Astraius is on-track for first launch in Spring 2024. The announcement received the support of the UK Space Agency at the Farnborough International Air Show.

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Franco-Japanese Space Cooperation Focused on Exploration, Earth Observation and Next-gen Launchers

Simulation of the MMX Rover on Phobos. (Credit: DLR)

PARIS (CNES PR) — The week of June 27, 2022, on the occasion of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the French space agency at the French Embassy in Japan, the President and CEO of CNES, Philippe Baptiste, met with Takayuki Kobayashi, Minister of Economic Security, in charge of Japan’s space policy, and Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA. This visit contributed to confirming Japan as one of CNES’s leading international partners, allowing discussions on current projects and cooperation prospects.

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Virgin Orbit Mission Success Brings UK Launch Another Step Closer

The “Straight Up” mission carried seven satellites to Low Earth Orbit. (Credit: Virgin Orbit/David Massena)

LONDON (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit’s next satellite launch will take place from the UK, following the success of the “Straight Up” mission, which lifted off from Mojave in California earlier today (2 July 2022).

Science Minister George Freeman and the UK Space Agency welcomed the news that Virgin Orbit has successfully completed its fourth mission from California, and its first night launch.

With this mission complete, Virgin Orbit is on track for launch from Spaceport Cornwall later this year. The UK Space Agency and Cornwall Council are supporting the launch, with Spaceport Cornwall set to create 150 jobs in the local area.

Science Minister George Freeman said:

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Virgin Orbit Set to Launch 7 Satellites Tonight

UPDATE: Virgin Orbit says the launch was scrubbed because the LauncherOne “propellant temperature was slightly out of bounds.” The company has not announced a new launch date.

Virgin Orbit Launch

Launch Vehicles: LauncherOne/Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl
Payloads: 7 small satellites
Customer: U.S. Space Force
Launch Site: Pacific Ocean off California
Launch Origination: Mojave Air and Space Port | Mojave, Calif.
Launch Window: 10 p.m. PDT on June 29 | 1 a.m. EDT/0500 UTC on June 30
Livestream: 9:45 p.m. PDT on June 29 | 12:45 p.m. EDT/0445 UTC on June 30
Mission Name: Straight Up
Mission Number: STP-28A

Mission Overview

The launch will carry seven satellites from multiple government agencies that are experiments intended to demonstrate novel modular satellite bus, space domain awareness, and adaptive radio frequency technologies.

The U.S. Space Force has procured this launch for the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP), with payloads provided by the DoD Space Test Program (STP). 

Payloads

CTIM-FD: CubeSat will measure radiation Earth receives from the Sun. (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Lonestar: U.S. Army Space & Missile Defense Command satellite focused on experimental tactical space support.

MISR-B: spacecraft will demonstrate two-way communications with ground devices and experiment with methods to leverage small satellite capabilities. (Department of Defense)

NACHOS-2: will allow scientists to detect, map, and quantify Earth’s trace gasses more easily, which is critical for volcanology and climate change research. (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Recurve: satellite propels CubeSat technology forward by demonstrating adaptive radio frequency system capability from low Earth orbit, evaluating mesh network behavior across multiple nodes to route data wherever it needs to go. (U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory)

Slingshot 1: CubeSat will advance on-orbit experiments using modular & autonomous technologies on next-gen satellite systems with SatCat5, a data interface which implements Ethernet-type communication between payloads using low power serial communications. (The Aerospace Corporation)

Virgin Orbit Formally Establishes New Brazilian Subsidiary and Receives Operator’s License for Launch Operations in Alcântara

The subsidiary and license for launch operations are expected to enable launches from Brazil to space as early as 2023. Operations at Alcântara Space Center closely align with Virgin Orbit’s mission to open space for everyone, from everywhere, as the locale is geographically one of the most advantageous places in the world from which to launch satellites into orbit.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) alongside the Brazilian Space Agency (Agência Espacial Brasileira; AEB) is pleased to announce that Virgin Orbit has been formally granted an operator’s license to allow LauncherOne launch operations in Brazil. The license is granted to Virgin Orbit Brasil Ltda. (VOBRA), a newly formed and wholly owned Brazilian subsidiary dedicated to bringing the LauncherOne air-launch rocket system to the Alcântara Launch Center (Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara, CLA).

The formation of the VOBRA entity for dedicated Brazilian space activities is designed to bring an important new capability to the country and economic value to the region. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system, which uses a customized 747 aircraft, Cosmic Girl, as its flying and fully reusable launch pad, will conduct launches from the existing airbase at the Brazilian site, flying hundreds of miles before releasing the rocket directly above the equator — a global sweet spot — or at other optimal locations identified for each individual mission.

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South Korea Launches First Domestically Produced Rocket

Nuri rocket lifts off from the Naro Space Center on June 21, 2022. (Credit: KARI)

South Korea successfully launched a fully domestically produced Nuri rocket for the first time on Tuesday, orbiting multiple satellites in a major breakthrough for the Asian nation’s space program.

The three-stage rocket lifted off at 4 p.m. local time carrying a 1.3 metric ton dummy satellite, a smaller 162.5 kg satellite whose purpose was to verify Nuri’s performance, and four research CubeSats developed by universities. The verification satellite confirmed it had entered orbit when it made contact with a communications station in Antarctica.

“The sky of the Korean universe is now wide open. Our science and technology has made great strides,” said Lee Jong-ho, minister of Science and Information Communications Technology (ICT).

The Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which is South Korea’s space agency, designed the domestically produced rocket to place 1.5 metric tons into low Earth orbit.

Nuri failed during its maiden flight last October due to the premature shut down of its third-stage engine. An investigation found that a helium tank broke loose due to a design flaw, causing a leak that shut down the engine.

It was the second successful satellite launch from South Korea. In 2013, a Naro-1 rocket launched a small satellite after two earlier failures. Naro-1 used a Russian first stage and a South Korean second stage.

Applications for the Second Flight of the Spectrum Launch Vehicle are Now Open

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)
  • In 2021, Isar Aerospace won the first ever microlauncher competition under ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services Program “Boost!” and the payloads for Spectrum’s first flight were selected
  • Today, the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V. published the second Announcement of Opportunity, which will open a new application process for payloads to come on board Spectrum’s second flight
  • This time, the call is open not only to European institutional customers but also start-ups and small to medium sized companies

Munich, 20 June 2022 (Isar Aerospace PR) – The German Space Agency DLR is launching the second round of competition for a free flight of small satellites on microlaunchers developed and built in Germany. This marks the start of the application phase for the second flight of Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum rocket. This time, the competition is not only aimed at European institutions, but also at start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

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Rocket Updates: Relativity, Firefly and PLD Space Move Toward Launches

Relativity Space’s Terran 1 arrives at Cape Canaveral for its maiden launch. (Credit: Relativity Space)

Relativity Space’s Terran 1 booster has arrived at Cape Canaveral in Florida in preparation for its maiden flight later this year.

Dedicated Mission: $12 million

First Stage: 9 Aeon engines
Second Stage: 1 Aeon engine

Maximum Payload:
1,250 kg to 185 km low Earth orbit

Nominal Payload:
900 kg to 500 km sun synchronous orbit

High Altitude Payload:
700 kg to 1200 km sun synchronous orbit

Employees wave goodbye to a rocket stage being shipped to Vandenberg Space Force Base. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

Firefly Aerospace has shipped both stages required for the second flight test of its Alpha booster from Briggs, Texas to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch, which has been named To the Black, could occur in July.

First Stage: 4 Reaver 1 engines
Second Stage: 1 Lightning 1 engine

Payload

1,170 kg to low Earth orbit
Inclination: 28.5°
Altitude: 200 km

745 kg to sun synchronous orbit
Altitude: 500 km

MIURA 1 rocket on the launch pad for tests. (Credit: PLD Space)

PLD Space has its MIURA 1 single-stage suborbital rocket on the launch pad for tests.

First Stage:  1 TEPREL-B engine

Payload

100 kg to 150 km

Innovation: CNES Launches Challenge on Artificial Intelligence Applied to Space Transportation

PARIS (CNES PR) — On May 25, CNES launched a new call for projects aimed at all organizations (SMEs, start-ups, industrial groups, research laboratories, schools, universities, etc.) with an innovative project to propose on the subject of intelligence. technology applied to space transport by 2030-2040. Candidates, who have until June 12 to submit their project, may be awarded up to 100,000 euros in funding as well as dedicated support within the framework of CNES innovation plans.

The proposed projects will have to apply artificial intelligence to space transport, with the aim of gaining flexibility, agility and performance, as well as reducing recurring costs without degrading reliability. The projects may in particular relate to the development process of the space transportation system, its manufacturing or control process, its operational phase with the ground installations, the flight phase, the operation of flights or even the phase associated with reuse. of the transportation system.

Technological solutions already applied or in the process of being applied in other transport sectors (automotive, aeronautics, rail, maritime, etc.) will be favoured. Candidates will be evaluated according to the interest and level of maturity of their project.
The holders of the best projects will be invited to come and present them on July 12, 2022 during a Pitch Day organized by the CNES Space Transport Department. The most convincing of them will have the opportunity to sign their financing contract the same day, at the end of the session.

For any request for additional information: [email protected]
The application file is available here

CNES Challenges Students with “Lance le Futur” Competition to Invest the Space Transportation of Tomorrow

PARIS (CNES PR) — On May 23, 2022, CNES “Launches the Future” with an ambitious student competition aimed at imagining, inventing, modeling and prototyping the space transport of tomorrow. Candidates will have until November 2, 2022 to submit their applications and try to win a unique experience with CNES.

Through this competition, the CNES offers the opportunity to French higher education establishments to mobilize around an innovative technological project and to allow their students (from bac +2) to discover and deepen their knowledge in the field of space by trying to meet the great challenges of tomorrow. It is also an opportunity for the French Space Agency to strengthen its links with students and the academic community in order to grow the French space ecosystem and bring out vocations.

The projects submitted must lead to concrete proposals on the following issues:

– The eco-responsible launch base of the future
– The zero-carbon launcher
– Solutions for deorbiting or reusing space debris
– Transport solutions between Earth orbits
– Transport solutions to the Moon or its orbit
– Interplanetary transport optimization solutions – Transport solutions in orbit around another planet

The 10 best candidates will be invited to come and pitch their project at Ground Based Space Facilities (GBSF) 2022, an event organized by CNES which brings together all the actors of launch bases and test facilities around the world, which will be held from December 6th to 8th.

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