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Home / Science / Rocket Report: Proton Price Cut, SpaceX HD Launch Video, SLS Setback

Rocket Report: Proton Price Cut, SpaceX HD Launch Video, SLS Setback



  The launch vehicle Electron is ready to climb.
Enlarge / The launch vehicle Electron is ready to climb.

Welcome to Edition 1.42 of the Rocket Report! This was another big week for boosters using NASA's Space Launch System. Almost immediately after Vice President Mike Pence said NASA was looking for alternatives if the existing contractors could not do the job, the White House and the NASA administrator got setbacks from the political supporters of the big rocket. This and much more can be found below.

As always we are happy about reader contributions. If you do not want to miss an issue, please subscribe to the box below (the form will not be 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.

First launch of Chinese OS-M missile fails . For the second time, an orbital start attempt by a private Chinese company failed. On Wednesday, the launch vehicle OS-M Chongqing of OneSpace Tech launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and attempted to put the small demonstration satellite of Lingque 1B technology into orbit, but failed shortly after entering the second phase of flight, NASASpaceflight reports .com.

Radio Frequency Start Search … OneSpace was founded after Chinese state institutes launched licenses for the "private" sector. This was in 2015 and since then, the company has launched three main business units, starting with the development of the M Series commercial launch vehicle to provide high frequency, low cost and high quality launcher rockets for micro and small business micro satellite customers. Even in China, the space is difficult. (submitted by Unrulycow and Ken the Bin)

DARPA wants to demonstrate nuclear missile in orbit . The Defense Research Agency plans to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion system that can be mounted in orbit to expand US presence in the Cislunar space, according to Aviation Week . The agency is targeting $ 10 million by 2020 to launch a new program, Reactor On A Rocket, to develop a highly enriched uranium propulsion system.

It's a Start … In a Nuclear Power Plant In a thermal rocket, propellants such as liquid hydrogen in a reactor are heated to high temperature and then ejected through a rocket nozzle to create a thrust. The projectile has a higher specific impulse than a chemical rocket. $ 10 million is a small amount that must be spent on a certainly expensive research and development program. (submitted by danneely)

Two minotaur launches planned by Wallops . Northrop Grumman is preparing for four launches this year on Virginia's Wallops Island (including two Cygnus cargo delivery missions to the International Space Station) and a pair of Minotaur missile flights for the US government's spy satellite agency, Spaceflight Now. 19659004] Various Minotaurs … The classified missions launch aboard a Minotaur 4 rocket (which uses decommissioned engines of the retired Peacekeeper Airforce Intercontinental Rocket) and a smaller Minotaur 1 (which has a similar one) Combination used) bearingless rocket engines and new upper stages, but based on the Minuteman rocket. With the Rocket Lab, which also develops facilities in Wallops, the coast of Virginia can increase in activity. (submitted by Unrulycow)

The Canadian launch plan encounters environmental concerns . The Department of the Environment of Nova Scotia has expressed concern about the Cyclone 4M missile, which intends to launch Maritime Launch Services from an undeveloped spaceport in the Canadian province. The second stage of the Ukrainian 4M booster is powered by hydrazine. The Department of the Environment has until May to decide if the project should be approved, The Chronicle Herald .

Still Widespread … In response to concerns, Maritime Launch Services submitted a report on the use of hydrazine by the NASA Space Shuttle on the Dragon Capsule of SpaceX and other vehicles. "While both the (European Space Agency) and NASA are reaping the benefits of developing an environmentally friendly alternative to hydrazine, both agencies remain reliant on current and planned future launches," the report said. Hydrazine is unpleasant stuff, but it is damn useful. (submitted by GM)

Russia lowers the cost of its proton rocket. Roscosmos will reduce the cost of launching a Proton M launcher to the level of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket to become more competitive. The cost savings are achieved through "lower land preparation costs," said Roscosmo boss Dmitry Rogozin, according to TASS.

Reliability or Price … "Proton M rockets are about at the level of falcons according to their price.Now we have taken steps to lower the cost of launch services for us by: we have reduced the cost of the ground infrastructure operation center, "Rogozin said. This is an interesting development, but given the proton's recent failures, it is unclear whether international customers will care more about reliability or price. (submitted by Unrulycow)

The new FAA rule is intended to streamline the launch . Following the National Space Council meeting on Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed rules to streamline commercial space transportation requirements for future market entry, reentry and launch site providers. The government also wants to maintain security during take-offs and re-entries.

Deadline met … According to the FAA, the proposed scheme would provide a secure, performance-based regulatory approach to commercial spacecrafts. It would promote safety practices by giving operators flexibility to meet safety requirements and improve cooperation between stakeholders. Several aviation officials praised the government for moving swiftly and completing the new rules within 12 months of the deadline set by Vice President Mike Pence. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Dream Chaser Passes Another Milestone . The spacecraft developed by Sierra Nevada has passed NASA's Integrated Review Milestone 5, an important status review of the company's performance on a variety of ground and flight operations. Sierra Nevada said the vehicle was on course for 2021 on an Atlas V rocket.

Milestones and More … According to the company, the review included the development of the vehicle's flight computers and software, Mission Simulator and Mission Control Center. Sierra Nevada also conducted charge demonstrations with vehicle high-fidelity models and its charging module to show charging and discharging time and efficiency. Dream Chaser has signed at least six cargo flights to the station with NASA in the early 2020s. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Germany has a plan to catch missiles . The German space agency DLR has commissioned a study on a novel concept for reusable launchers using a winged first-stage booster intercepted by aircraft and returned to land SpaceNews . In the three-year study, a "rocket catcher" with an international team will be developed, which builds on previous DLR simulations and flight experiments.

Oh, the name … My favorite part of this seemingly crazy guy idea is that it's called FALCon. Landings such as these SpaceX behaviors with the Falcon 9 booster require additional fuel to slow down the vehicle when returning to Earth, said the project's lead editor. By equipping a wing-mounted booster and gliding to a recovery aircraft, the rocket stage can consume more fuel to bring a payload into orbit. We have to see that. (submitted by Ken the Bin and danneely)

A high-resolution launch of Falcon 9 . SpaceX has recently updated the Falcon 9 page of its website with a new video showing some of the recent rocket launches and landings. One of the playback options allows for 4K video, and is spectacular reports Ars.

Stop reading, start watching … Some highlights of the video are close-ups of the Falcon 9 engines re-lit to prepare for the landing and the use of the leashes themselves. But really, that should be watched rather than read about it.

Alabama legislators seek assurances from SLS . The questions came at a House Appropriation hearing one day after Vice President Mike Pence announced the Space Launch System rocket program because of his desire to send people to the lunar surface by 2024. "If our current contractors can not achieve this goal." Then we will find those who will do so, "said Pence.

Ask questions … Alabama MP Martha Roby asked NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine's statement that the SLS missile Robert Aderholt, another representative from Alabama, said: "The SLS and Orion programs are, of course, key to the health of our national suppliers to aerospace suppliers." "Exploration" effect really does not give priority to the development of exploration systems.

Also, NASA intends to accelerate SLS .This week, Bridenstine also admitted that the idea of ​​having the first Orion lunar mission on Instead, he was looking for ways to accelerate this mission on the SLS booster, SpaceNews . The biggest idea (which we h will be accepted after a 45-day study) is to skip a green run test at the Stennis Space Center, which is five to eight months out of the schedule.

Waiting on the ASAP Panel … At the house hearing this week, Bridenstine said, "The question is, is this necessary?" We could single-engine each engine at very high conditions outside the nominal range to gain certainty, or at least eliminate as much or almost as much risk as we would if we were to go down the drain. "We are excited to hear what the NASA security panels, the SpaceX, are for have absolutely roasted the use of last-and-go fuel on the rocket Falcon 9, to say this idea.

The Luftwaffe does not want to delay the launch contest . A final call for proposals for the launch service procurement competition will be released in the next two weeks, said Lieutenant General John F. Thompson, commander of the Air Force and Missile System. This is the competition for military launch contracts from 2022 to 2026, which has sparked some controversy.

Air Force is ready … Thompson's comments came during a hearing in the Subcommittee of the Senate, which was dealt with by . . Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chairwoman of the subcommittee, and Sen. Martin Heinrich (DN.M.), the member of the ranking, urged Thompson to explain the reasons of the Air Force for restricting the field of competitors of four to explain in 2020. "We are ready to issue an RFP for the LSP," said Thompson. "All potential suppliers have sufficient maturity and we expect robust competition." Thompson's shortcut game is strong.

Blue Origin Expands Florida Facilities . Founded by Jeff Bezos, the rocket company plans to expand its already extensive facilities at Exploration Park, near the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center, to a 90-acre "South Campus." The southern campus will almost double the area of ​​land that Blue Origin has already leased from NASA, Florida Today reports.

Large rockets, large acreage … The company refused to provide any details, but according to the documents received by the newspaper, "the facilities will provide for the production and provision of commercial launch vehicles." It should come as no surprise that a company building an exceptionally large rocket needs more space near its launch pad in Florida. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Next three starts

28. March : Electron | DARPA R3D2 mission | Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand | 22:30 UTC

March 30 : Long March 3B | Tianlian 2-01, a TDRS satellite | Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China | 16:30 UTC

April 1 : PSLV | 29 smaller satellites on a ride-in mission | Sriharikota, India | 04:00 UTC


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