Rocket Lab to Launch From U.S. for First Time on Tuesday

Rocket Lab is scheduled to launch its Electron rocket from U.S. soil for the first time on Tuesday. The window for the launch three signal collection satellites for HawkEye 360 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) in Virginia runs from 6-8 pm EST (23:00-01:00 UTC). The company will webcast the launch on YouTube.

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Space SPAC Index: BigBear Sells More Stock, Management Changes at Satixfy, Spire Global & Virgin Galactic Plus News About Planet Labs & Virgin Orbit

SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity arrives at Spaceport America aboard WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Welcome to S-SPACi.

This week BigBear.ai sells more stock, management is shaken up at three space SPACs, Momentus signs a contract with FOSSA, Planet Labs teams with NASA to mitigate global food shortages, and Virgin Orbit’s price target gets cut in half after launch failure.

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Engine Failures Doomed ABL, Virgin Orbit Launches

RS1 rocket in flight before all nine first stage engines failed. (Credit: ABL Space Systems)

A couple of updates on the launch failures this week.

ABL Space reports that all nine E2 engines on the RS1 rocket’s first stage failed simultaneously shortly after liftoff from the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska on Tuesday. The rocket fell back on its launch pad and exploded, resulting in significant damage but no injuries, the company said.

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ABL’s RS1 Rocket Fails on Maiden Flight

RS1 booster on the launch pad. (Credit: ABL Space Systems)

ABL Space’s RS1 rocket failed shortly after liftoff from its launch pad at the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA) on Tuesday, the company said.

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The Virgin Orbit Failure: Space is Hard, Profits are Harder

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

After months of buildup about the first orbital launch of satellites from UK soil, the first launch ever from Western Europe, the beginning of a new era in British spaceflight, Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 dropped the LauncherOne rocket over the Atlantic Ocean off the southern coast of Ireland. The booster’s Newton 3 first stage engine ignited and shut down, the second stage separated and its Newton 4 engine ignited. All appeared to be nominal.

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The Week Ahead: Virgin Orbit, ABL Space, SpaceX and Chinese Launches Scheduled

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

While the first week of 2023 saw only one launch worldwide, things will get a lot busier in week 2. Virgin Orbit is set to conduct its first launch from the UK, ABL Space hopes to launch its first rocket ever, and SpaceX and China have three launches apiece on their manifests.

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Space SPAC Index: Falcon 9 Launches 47 Payloads for SPAC Companies on Rideshare Mission

Falcon 9 Transporter-6 launch on Jan. 3, 2023. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Happy New Year to all and welcome to the first S-SPACi of 2023.

SpaceX started off the year with a boom on Tuesday with the launch of its Transporter-6 rideshare mission from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Falcon 9 first stage booster touched down on land instead of an off-shore drone ship, sending a sonic boom echoing across the Sunshine State.

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UK Civil Aviation Authority Claps Back at Virgin Orbit

LauncherOne in a stormy Mojave before being transported to Spaceport Cornwall in England. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

The UK Civil Aviation Authority responded to claims that it is responsible for holding up Virgin Orbit’s launch from Spaceport Cornwall. Tim Johnson, Director for Space Regulation, said in a statement:

“The UK space regulation process is not a barrier to a UK space launch. Virgin Orbit has said in its statement this morning that there are some technical issues that will need to be resolved before launch. These in no way relate to the timing of when a licence will be issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.

“Effective licensing forms an integral part of UK space activity. Spaceport Cornwall’s licence already permits Virgin Orbit to undertake its testing programme prior to launch. Our dedicated team has been working closely with all partners to assess applications and issue the remaining licences within the timelines we set at the outset.

“We continue to work with Virgin Orbit, and other stakeholders, to play our part in delivering a safe UK launch.”

Virgin Orbit Launch Delayed Until After Christmas

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

The first orbital launch from the United Kingdom will have to wait a little longer. In yet another delay, Virgin Orbit (NAS: VORB) will not be able to conduct a launch from Spaceport Cornwall in the United Kingdom on Dec. 14 as the company previously announced. The launch will be delayed until at least late December after Christmas, or possibly next year.

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Virgin Orbit Earns AS9100 Certification, Building on Its Perfect Satellite Launch Record

Successful audit confirms Virgin Orbit meets stringent requirements for leading worldwide aerospace quality management standard

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — The Performance Review Institute (PRI) Registrar recently certified Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) as having met stringent international standards. This achievement promotes Virgin Orbit’s ongoing commitment to satisfying stakeholders, and the Company’s dedication to continual improvement of its quality management system.

The globally recognized AS9100 standard builds upon the ISO 9000 family of quality management systems, incorporating critical requirements established by the aerospace industry. These combined factors collectively satisfy U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) quality requirements.

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Virgin Orbit Reports Second Quarter Results

  • Completed fourth consecutive successful launch in 18 months on July 1, 2022; delivered satellites for the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP)
  • Signed binding launch contract with iQPS for launch of synthetic aperture radar satellites
  • Announced NRO, U.S. Space Force, UK MoD, and commercial payloads for Cornwall, UK launch
  • Established new Brazilian subsidiary and received launch operator’s license
  • Continued international momentum with signed study for South Korean spaceport

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR)–Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) (“Virgin Orbit” or the “Company”), the responsive space flight and services company, today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022.

Virgin Orbit’s Chief Executive Officer, Dan Hart, commented, “We had another strong quarter of execution, culminating in our latest launch on July 1st. Our ‘Straight Up’ mission, which was our fourth successful launch in 18 months, delivered seven satellites for the DoD. We continue to see strong efficiency gains as we scale production and increase launch rate.”

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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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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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