Welcome to Edition 1.31 of the Rocket Report! This week we have all kinds of space news, from the Azores to Hawaii. As we return with the first report from 2019, there is also a lot of news about the development of super-heavy boosters.
As always, we welcome reader contributions, and if you do not want to miss an issue, please subscribe to the box below (the form will not appear in AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report contains information on small, medium, and heavy rockets, as well as a glimpse of the next three launches of the calendar.
Alaska Aerospace observes launch site in Hawaii. The company, which already operates the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, plans to build its nearest equatorial location for comments near the equator,  Hawaii Tribune-Herald . The proposed site is located near Hilo on the Big Island and would be used to carry small payloads of 50 to 100 kg.
Local Opposition Expected … "Do not think about what you see Cape Canaveral," said Mark Lester, president of the Alaska-based company. "This is really a few concrete blocks with very little permanent infrastructure." The report quotes several skeptical residents of Hawaii worried about noise and other effects. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
LandSpace Opens Rocket Production Facility in China . According to Spacewatch, the factory in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang will be the country's first private production of satellite launch vehicles. "Having a manufacturing base is the first step in large-scale commercial launch vehicle and engine production and is expected to significantly accelerate R & D and testing of our products," said Zhang Changwu, CEO of LandSpace.
Ready to scale … It is reported that the company's Tianjin rocket engine and liquid-fueled Zhuque-2 launch vehicle will begin production at the plant in 2019. The ZQ-2 is scheduled to go into operation in 2020. The plant The company will be able to produce from 2022 about 15 Zhuque-2 missiles and 200 engines. (submitted by Ken the Bin).
Blue Origin aims to fly people into "early" 2019 . In a panel discussion this week at the SciTech Forum of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the head of strategy and distribution of astronauts at Blue Origin said the company was eager to fly new passengers to New Shepard, but that safety above the
No ticket sales … "We want to fly people at the beginning of 2019, but let's be very clear – as we have already said – only when we are ready." Ariane Cornell loudly said SpaceNews . "We are now so focused on testing New Shepard thoroughly." The company has not yet started selling tickets or set a price for the suborbital flight.
Stratolaunch drives a taxi test at 136 mph . The company's six-engine, twin-engine aircraft ran down the runway today at Mojave Air and Space Port, California, on its last taxi ride at a speed of 136 mph. This is almost the takeoff speed for the world's largest aircraft to serve as a flight launch platform for orbital rockets, GeekWire reports.
Possibly the last ground test … Officials The company said earlier that this is the maximum speed with which the aircraft could be tested on the ground. This could be an indication that the monster will fly soon. This is certainly something that we all look forward to in the new year. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Azores launch site for five rocket companies . A Portugal-backed launch site in the Azores has reduced the number of companies it works with from 14 to five in order to develop a small carrier that could serve as anchor tenant. The companies are: AVIO, AZUL Consortium, Isar Aerospace Technologies GmbH, PLD Space and Rocket Factory Augsburg. The final contract negotiations could start later this spring.
Surrounded by Water … The Azores are located in the Atlantic Ocean at a latitude of 35 to 40 degrees north. A committee investigating industry proposals is also in negotiations with Portuguese authorities, subsystem suppliers and finally with the Ariane group, which has expressed its interest in the operation and management of the spaceport. (submitted by claudiocsilva)
Commercial crew mission postponed to February . SpaceX is about a month away from the first commercial crew mission, the founder of which tweeted Elon Musk in early January . This will be a demonstration flight without people on board. NASA confirmed the delay until "February" on January 10th.
A delay of one month … NASA had officially held a launch date of January 17, but this has become unsustainable due to the ongoing work of solving technical problems, said two sources, as well partial shutdown of the government. Currently, more than 90 percent of Space Agency staff are detained during standstill, which affects the Agency's ability to issue final start-up permits. Some key government officials continue to work without pay. (submitted by george moromisato)
India plans up to 14 launches in 2019 . Indian Space Research Organization chairman said the country plans to launch up to 14 launches this year, including 17 satellites and a technology demonstration mission. ISRO leader Kailasavadivoo Sivan said this was a "challenging" destination for the country, reports the Times of India . India launched seven orbital missiles in 2018.
Other Works … Among the other launch activities this year, Sivan said work on a special launch vehicle for small satellites and work will continue in support of an upcoming space flight mission (set for 2022 ), the first of the country. The high target for the launch this year seems to reflect India's growing ambitions in space. (submitted by fleisher)
The Vostochny Cosmodrome is opened . After years of delays, building failures and corruption scandals, the Russian Vostochny Cosmodrome was successfully flown for the first time with commercial payloads aboard a Soyuz 2.1a rocket at the end of December, SpaceNews . "We fly!" Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Twitter:
A semi-commercial launch … The primary payload consisted of two Russian Earth observation satellites, Kanopus V5 and 6. However, a secondary payload 26 small satellites were sold by the new commercial Roscosmos subsidiary GK Launch Services. It is not clear when the next commercial launch, entirely run by GK, will take place at the new spaceport in Far Eastern Russia. The company's next two launches are expected to leave Baikonur in 2020. (Submitted by Ken the Bin)
Despite stagnation, work continues on the SLS rocket . Based on a report from NASASpaceFlight.com, work on the SLS rocket will continue during the partial government shutdown. Several activities related to the rocket – including Pegasus barge operations and contractor work on the core stage of the Michoud Assembly Facility – are exempted from decommissioning.
This will certainly not help … A Shutting down the government is terrible for NASA in many ways, but probably will not have much impact on the activities related to the development of their missile. However, should the first launch of the SLS fall into the year 2021, this will be a (practical and plausible) excuse. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Why Elon Musk Tweets So much about Starship . Since Dec. 22, Musk has tweeted about the Starship vehicle more than two dozen times. The spaceship "Starship" is an upper-level spaceship launched by the "super heavy" booster, formerly known as Big Falcon Rocket. For countless details on a trial of Starship, check out Musk's Twitter feed.
Why does he share so much? … When Musk shares all these goodies about Starship, he tells the world that he's really excited ( ) about freaking over Starship. After nearly two decades of work to reach this point with SpaceX, it's his Mars spacecraft, and he wants everyone to know about it.
Roscosmos chooses a super heavy booster concept . The Russian space group has opted for the proposed by the Progress Rocket and Space Center variant, which allegedly has six side-mounted booster and a central core based on the rocket engine RD-180, reports Space Daily. It will have a capacity of 103 tons for the low Earth orbit.
Will not start for a long time … This decision follows a decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the spring of 2018, a "super heavy" rocket. To say that we are skeptical of this company is an understatement. It is not clear where Roscosmos will receive the funds for such an ambitious project that is not expected to fly before 2028. (Submitted by biceps)
Next three starts
Jan. 11 : Falcon 9 | Iridium 8 mission | Air Force Base Vandenberg, California, | 15:31 UTC
Jan. 17 : Epsilon | Rapis 1 Demonstration Satellite | Uchinoura Space Center, Japan | 00:50 UTC
Jan. 21 : Long March 11 | Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite from Jilin-1 | Jiuquan, China | TBD