Welcome to issue 2.22 of the Rocket Report! This week, there is much news about medium-sized launchers and the first real estimate of the combined marginal and fixed costs of a space launch system. I would also like to point out that this report will not be released next week, as the author will take the time to work on a book project.
As always, we welcome your readers' contributions, and if you do not, please subscribe to the box below (this 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 brief look at the next three launches in the calendar.
Rocket Lab flies "Next Generation" Electron . The launch window for Rocket Lab's 10th flight named "Running Out Of Fingers" will open on November 25th. The company said the first stage of Electron will not be recovered from this mission, but that stage includes new hardware and sensors to inform future recovery efforts.
More Incoming Data … In a press release, Rocket Lab announced the changes: "As part of a first-stage block upgrade, Electron's booster will become steering and navigation hardware, including S Band telemetry and on-board computer systems are included to collect data during first-stage atmospheric reentry, and the stage is also equipped with a response control system to orient the booster on reentry. "The mission becomes an interesting and controversial payload wear. (submitted by Ken the Bin and platykurtic)
Litter a great winner at the Air Force Pitch Day . The New York-based launcher received $ 1.5 million on Wednesday's Air Force Space Pitch Day. The company said it only took five months to draft a proposal and receive an order to accelerate work on its E-2 engine development program.
Comprehensive Tests Come … During these events, the military invests to a small extent in young space companies developing technologies that the Ministry of Defense is interested in. According to Launcher, the E-2 will be the "most powerful engine in the class of small-satellite launchers" – with the most thrust, lowest fuel consumption and lowest cost per pound of thrust. "The first full test of the engine could take place early next year."
Takeoff on the Big Island Falls A planned satellite launch facility near Keaau on the Big Island of Hawaii will not operate, according to West Hawaii Today, the owner of the potential site that left the project The launch site was to be built on WH Shipman's own land by Alaska Aerospace Corp., which is launching a similar satellite launch in Alaska, but Shipman announced that all discussions regarding the project had been completed.
Listening to Local Opposition … "We have been saying all along that we want to make the most responsible decision based on the most accurate information," Shipman President Peggy Farias told the publication. "We have listened to many people, including the feelings of our families and the community, and we have found that this is not the right solution." Residents were concerned about the environmental and noise pollution from the potential launch site.
SpaceX aims for two milestones of reuse . On Tuesday, SpaceX completed a static test firing on the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled to fire on November 11 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. With the exception of the primary Starlink mission (which is a pretty big deal), two missile reuse milestones are being targeted on this flight, Ars reports. This is the first time SpaceX has tried four times, the same first level of Falcon 9 to fly. This special stage took place on 25th July and 8th October 2018 and on 22nd February this year.
What is your missile disguise? … Also, SpaceX will try to reuse a payload fairing for the first time. After Falcon Heavy launched the Arabsat-6A mission in April, SpaceX salvaged both halves of the Atlantic payload fairing. These panels have now been redesigned – it is not clear how much work is needed to clean them and mitigate the effects of saltwater damage – and they are now flying on the Starlink mission. (submitted by Azethoth666)
Northrop Grumman Launches Improved Antares . On Saturday, a stronger version of the Antares rocket flew from Wallops Island, Virginia, and launched a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. This was the first launch of the Antares 230+ variant, reports NASASpaceflight.com.
Stronger Structure … According to Antares Program Program Manager Kurt Eberly: "The most important thing we did was to strengthen the airframe. And that just added a bit of metal to a few places this allows us to stop throttling at MaxQ and simply fly high with 100% gas until we reach G-force, and then we throttle back. "The change allows the Cygnus spacecraft to bring more mass to the space station to transport. (submitted by platykurtic and Ken the Bin)
China tests lattice fins . A Chinese Long March 4B put an earth observation satellite into orbit late Saturday, with lattice fins guiding the descent of the rocket's first stage, SpaceNews reports. For the first time, a Grid Fin system was installed on the first stage of the Long March 4B to restrict the area it falls into. Most launches in China take place in centers far inland, causing debris to land remotely.
Road to Reusability … The lattice fins are designed to both reduce risk and mark a step toward future retrograde landings. Reusability of the launcher. Both the start and test of the grid-fin system were declared successful, with the first stage falling within the designated area. In 2017, the Chinese Space Program released a roadmap for space transportation, setting out its ambitions to make its launch vehicles fully reusable by 2035. (Submitted by Unrulycow and Ken the Bin)
Boeing works at the OFT launch in December . Boeing said on Thursday that it "continues to make progress" towards a destination on 17 December for its orbital flight test of its Starliner capsule and the Atlas V rocket. This is a critical test flight that, if successful, would pave the way for a manned Starliner mission in 2020. The statement from Boeing came after a largely successful test of the Starliner demolition system on Monday.
Two out of three … According to flight data, the test ran nominally until the main parachutes were triggered – only two instead of three emerged from the pod as it descended onto the desert floor. During a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday, John Mulholland of Boeing said the company had already identified the root cause of the problem as a poor connection between the pilot parachute and the main parachute. Steps are being taken to prevent recurrence, Mulholland said. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
The White House sets a price for the SLS. In a letter to the Senate Department Committee, initially received by Ars, White House Budget Director Russell Vought set a price for the space launching rocket. "The European mission could be launched with a commercial missile," Vought wrote. "With an estimated cost of more than $ 2 billion per SLS launch on completion of development, the use of a commercial launcher would provide over $ 1.5 billion in cost savings."
Is this sustainable? Independent estimates suggest that SLS costs are so high, but NASA has never admitted this. The $ 2 billion cost of launching a SLS rocket per year raises significant questions about the sustainability of such an exploration program – the government killed the similarly sized Saturn V rocket in the early 1970s for unsustainable costs. In an answer NASA did not deny that number. "NASA is working to reduce the cost of a single SLS launch in a given year while the agency continues negotiations with Boeing," said a spokeswoman.
China's heavy lifter returns by the end of 2019? Components for China's third Long March 5 rocket arrived at the country's southern launch base in late October as the teams prepared for the heavy-lift truck's first flight since a mission failed in 2017. Wenchang is China's newest spaceport and has so far completed four space launches, according to Spaceflight Now.
A Critical Flight … The return-to-flight mission, which is expected in the second half of December, is an important test of the heavy-duty missile before China embarks on the launch of a Mars rover and one Lunar pattern return mission for Long March 5 vehicles next year. The booster can carry as much as 14 tonnes into geostationary orbit and is critical to China's exploration plans for the next decade. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
NASA rejects Blue Origin's offer for the SLS upper school . At Halloween, NASA released a document that provides insight into the agency's long-term plans for the Space Launch System and, in particular, its senior level. The new document, which is known to justify a competition other than full and open, explains why NASA rejected a low-price version of an upper stage proposed by Blue Origin for its rocket, reports Ars.
Too Big … NASA cites three reasons why it does not open the Blue Origin competition. It is argued that Blue Origin's "Dodge" stage can not fly 10 tons of cargo with the Orion spacecraft. According to NASA, the overall height of the SLS upper grade SLS missile exceeds the Vertical Assembly Building door height, resulting in "VAB elevation changes and significant cost and time delays." Finally, the agency said the higher thrust of the BE-3U engine would increase the end-of-life acceleration of the Orion spacecraft and significantly impact the design of the Orion solar array. The rejection raises questions about the high total cost of a stronger SLS rocket.
The next three launches
Nov. 11: Falcon 9 | Start of the second batch of 60 Starlink satellites | Air Force Station Cape Canaveral, Florida | 14:51 UTC
Nov. 20 : Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle | Satellite Cartosat 3 | Sriharikota, India | 03:30 UTC
22.11.: Ariane 5 | Communication satellite TIBA 1 and Inmarsat 5 F5 | Kourou, French Guiana | 21:08 UTC