Welcome to Edition 1.09 of the Rocket Report! This week we have several stories about the global launch race over small satellites. It also reports on the daring launch and success of Blue Origin in Europe in French Guiana with the test of a critical new solid rocket booster.
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you do not want to miss a problem, please subscribe to the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report contains information on small, medium and heavy rockets as well as a quick look at the next three launches in the calendar.
Blue Origin continues to test New Shepard . During the ninth flight test, Blue-Origin engineers New Shepard tested on a high-altitude escape engine. Both the rocket that had already separated from the capsule and the spacecraft passed the test with flying colors. The escape engine ignition pushed the spacecraft to a record 119km.
Bezos does not lie … A few years ago, the founder of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, said: "We will test the everlasting daylight from the vehicle before ever a human is put on it." This was the fourth extreme environment test of the New Shepard system. As the vehicle continues to travel, we believe that human test flights will be possible by the end of the year.
Britain participates in microlaunch space race . Orbex, a UK company with subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities in Denmark and Germany, announced it has raised $ 40 million from public and private sources to develop what it calls the prime launcher. The company intends to launch Prime from a new government-backed spaceport in northern Scotland. Lockheed Martin will help develop the launch facility, which should be ready in the early 2020s.
The United Kingdom Seems to Be Serious … All in all, the government will invest about $ 50 million in the market investments and missile development. Rocket Lab already appears to be interested in the launch facility in Scotland, which has access to polar orbits. Other companies have also indicated this. This is the first time since the late 1960s that Britain has serious problems with self-built rocket launches.
Virgin Orbit may also start from the UK . In addition to the Scottish vertical launch site, Cornwall intends to launch horizontally launched missiles in the southwestern United Kingdom. The Independent reports that Virgin Orbit and Cornwall have signed a strategic partnership that could result in Cosmic Girl launching from the spaceport and sending its LauncherOne into space more world space ports wanting to launch smaller satellites than launcher companies. That may change in five years, but at the moment it seems to be a buyer market for start-up companies. So we will see many of these types of businesses, not all of which will lead to actual space flights. However, it makes sense that Sir Richard Branson wants to start from his home country. (submitted by acornkenya)
The scope of China's commercial industry is greater than you think . The China Global Television Network reports that over the past three years, about 10 private rocket companies have been formed in China. The two most prominent companies, i-Space and OneSpace Technology, have made it clear that they have no plans to take over state-funded missions from state space giants. Rather, they seek to meet the demand of small satellite companies.
A Global Race … The article provides interesting details about the efforts of some of these start-up companies. With private, small scale launch development efforts in Europe and China, as well as the PSLV in India, the Small Satellite Start race will clearly be a global competition. (submitted by tpc3)
The military's reusable spacecraft has a motor . The Los Angeles Times goes a little deeper into the development of the AR-22 engine, which will provide the Department of Defense's reusable Space Shuttle in the early 2020s. "SpaceX has been successful," said Claire Leon, director of the Loyola Marymount University Systems Engineering Program and former corporate director of the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. "I think this engine test also shows that other companies are doing the technology development and have a success that makes reusability possible."
Launch on Demand, Government Style … Finally, the government wants a start-on-demand capability that costs about $ 5 million per flight. It would be able to send satellites weighing up to 1.5 tons. This would obviously open up real opportunities for military espionage, communication and more. (submitted by dangle)
Vector begins with tests at Kodiak Spaceport in Alaska . According to local reports, Vector has begun testing ground systems at a launch site in southern Alaska. These tests included telemetry checks between the booster and the command center and tank exercises. The company also moved the rocket around the facility.
Still no real rocket … The tests were carried out with a model of Vector's orbital missile. It is not clear when aviation products are delivered to Alaska and tested. The company says it will stay on track until the end of 2018. (Submitted by aubrey)
Europe's P120C booster successfully tested . For the first time ever, European Space Officers tested the new P120C solid-state boosters at their plant in French Guiana. The 135-second ignition was a complete success, NASASpaceflight.com reported. Unlike many solid engine tests, this ignition was performed in a vertical position on the test bench.
A big step … This was an important test for Arianespace who wants to use the new, economical engine as a side engine for the launchers Ariane 62 and 64 and the Vega C rocket. The success of this test indicates that the first launch date for the new Ariane rockets can be reached in mid-2020. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Russia can increase production of Angara missiles . Roskosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin said this week that in 2023 Russia will build mass-production rockets in the western Siberian city of Omsk. TASS reports that the increased production will coincide with the end of proton missile flights.
We'll see … There are many questions about how profitable the Angara, which includes both light and heavy versions, will once be dominated by the proton vehicle on the commercial market. Our guess is that in the early 2020s it will be replaced by reusable boosters in the United States and more efficient launches by Arianespace.
Dragon rocket is approaching readiness for SpaceX demo flight . The crew dragon, who will fly SpaceX's unmanned demonstration mission-1, has arrived at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station air base in Florida to launch the final launch process. According to NASA Spaceflight.com, crew rotation and the International Space Station's visit plan are likely to be the main driver for the eventual launch of the flight from the Florida Spaceport.
Rocket selected … The site says the Falcon 9 missile block 5 core B1051 will be used for the demo test, but it has not yet left the factory. Rather, B1050 will be the next rocket from Hawthorne and on the test bench at McGregor, ahead of the demo test rocket. We expect that NASA will not update its launch data earlier than the beginning of August when deploying astronauts for the 2019 test flights manned by Boeing and SpaceX. (Submitted by Rickbsgu and Ken the Bin)
Boeing tackles contamination problems with SLS rocket . Boeing has completed the application of the thermal protection system to a liquid oxygen tank to be used by the Space Launch System, NASASpaceflight.com says. These efforts had a setback in 2018 when it was discovered that hoses were contaminated in connection with SLS production.
Contributes to Delays … This contamination problem cost the SLS missile several months in delay This is one reason why it is generally expected that the launch date of the missile will fall from June 2019 to June 2020. Further delays seem possible, as the core test of the stage can reveal more problems with the Titan Booster. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Blue Origin will offer dual-launch capability with New Glenn . Blue Origin will fly two customers with the same New Glenn rocket after the launcher has completed five missions with solo customers SpaceNews reports. The rocket will be able to transport up to 13 tons into a geostationary transfer orbit, business representatives said at a conference in Indonesia
A challenge for Europe? … One of the big selling points of the Ariane 5 (and the upcoming Ariane 6) rocket is its ability to manifest two major payloads for use in GEO. New Glenn's dual-launch arrangement will allow two satellites to launch together without coordinating mass differences, as is the case with Ariane 5. The GEO wars in the 2020s will be fascinating. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
The next three launches
22. July : Falcon 9 | Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite | Cape Canaveral, Florida | 05:50 UTC
July 25 : Ariane 5 | Galileo satellites | Kourou, French Guiana | 11:25 UTC
July 25 : Falcon 9 | Iridium NEXT Satellite | Vandenberg AFB, California | 11:39 UTC