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Home / Science / Rocket Report: Vega ascends, Delta 2 finishes closer and hears a Falcon Heavy Start

Rocket Report: Vega ascends, Delta 2 finishes closer and hears a Falcon Heavy Start



Enlarge / The Rocket Report is published weekly

Welcome to Edition 1.14 of the Rocket Report! This week we have plenty of news about small missiles for large aircraft, the last flight of the venerable Delta 2 rocket, and a report on whether new technologies could soon replace rockets. (Spoil alert: probably not.)

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 the AMP-enabled versions of the page? ˅). Each report contains information on small, medium and heavy rockets as well as a quick look at the next three launches in the calendar.

Stratolaunch Disclose Missile Development Plans . The manufacturer of the world's largest aircraft, which seems to be heading for a maiden flight toward the end of this year, has released some of its plans, which will send it into space. In addition to the previously announced Pegasus rockets, the company plans to develop a medium and heavy rocket that will transport 3.4 and 6 tonnes into low Earth orbit. Stratolaunch also makes early development work on a space shuttle.

In-house looking for a solution … Stratolaunch seems to have been looking for rockets of the appropriate size to launch from its plane for a long time. A previous deal with SpaceX coincided with a deal with Orbital ATK to develop a custom missile for the aircraft. Now the company has decided to go into their own house and build their own rockets. The medium-lift, fastest-developing rocket could be ready for its first flight in about four years.

Vega-Raketenlft Aeolus satellite . On Wednesday, a Vega rocket launched into space from the European Spaceport in French Guiana and delivered a spacecraft designed to measure the winds in the Earth's atmosphere. This was the 12th start of Arianespace's Vega rocket, and it was completely successful. Vega now has a 12-of-12 success rate, reports Spaceflight Now. Vega starts are fun because the relatively light rocket rises quickly from its Launchpad.

A Long Road … Sponsored by the European Space Agency and built by Airbus Defense and Space, the $ 550 million Aeolus mission has been in the making for nearly two decades. Since the formal launch of the ESA in 2002, Aeolus has suffered numerous delays as engineers have had problems with the mission's laser device. But so far everything seems to go well in space. The ability to measure winds from space could greatly contribute to improving global weather forecasting models.

LandSpace says it has put together its Orbital Rocket . Beijing-based private space company LandSpace says it has completed assembly of its 19-meter orbital missile and intends to launch it in the fourth quarter of this year, China News reports. The three-stage solid rocket Zhuque-1 has a take-off mass of 27 tons. The first launch will carry a small China Central Television satellite for space science and remote sensing for a television show on the state broadcaster.

Many more where that came from … This company is among the avant-garde of the Chinese commercial space industry. A report by Beijing-based investment firm Future Aerospace said more than 60 private companies have entered the commercial space industry in the past three years since China started promoting private capital in the satellite and space industries. These sectors were previously closed to the private sector. LandSpace and OneSpace are competing for the first private Chinese companies to reach orbit. (submitted by tpc3)

Relativity becomes serious with rocket fire . Relativity, a 3D-printed rocket company, announced this week's recruitment of Tim Buzza as a consultant to oversee the company's launch vehicle launch. Buzza spent 12 years responsible for rocket development and launch activities for SpaceX. In Relativity, his job will be to select a launch site in the US (a decision will be made before the end of this year) and monitor the development of ground-based systems at that location.

Looking ahead to a launch in 2020 date … "The guy literally knows everything there is to know about rockets," said Tim Ellis, co-founder and Chief Executive of Relativity. According to Ellis, relativity remains on track to fully develop its Terran rocket by 2020. The rocket has a planned capacity of 1,250 kg to near-Earth orbit and costs $ 10 million per launch. Commercial launches can start in 2021.

Colorado officially has a spaceport . The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a spaceflight license for the Colorado Front Range Airport, now known as the Colorado Air and Space Port. GeekWire reports that the port will not be used for vertical rocket launches, but for horizontal takeoff and takeoff operations, as planned by Virgin Branch, British billionaire Richard Branson, and Microsoft's Stratolaunch company, Paul Allen] Big Question … As with some other licensed space airports in the United States (previously 10), the question arises as to which space flights can actually take place from there and when. Airport Director Dave Ruppel said the first space missions are likely to be at least five years away. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Interorbital is working on a decidedly terrestrial rocket . One group that wants to develop a ground-based vehicle that can exceed the 1,000-mile mark has started with the rocket manufacturer Interorbital Systems. The Aussie Invader team will work with Interorbital to develop, test and integrate a 62,000 lb thrust (275,790 Newton) rocket motor into the Aussie Invader 5R. An attempt to break the 1,000-mile barrier could occur by 2020, according to the Parabolic Arc

Where is Neptune? … This seems to be an interesting project, but it certainly raises questions about where interorbital missiles are, especially the Neptune launcher. Interorbital has long admirable targets of (very) inexpensive rockets. But at some point we would like to see some real flights in (or even near) space.

Delta 2 rocket is approaching its final launch . Last week, during a practice countdown on Vandenberg's launch pad, the air traffic controllers loaded super-cold liquid-oxygen propellant into the first stage of the Delta 2, known as a wet rehearsal, Spaceflight Now reports. On 15 September, NASA's ICESat 2 satellite will be launched, a revolving platform that records the melting of ice caused by climate change. The story gives a good overview of the rocket's long history.

A heartfelt farewell gift … We wish nothing but success for the Delta 2 rocket with 154 missions and their manufacturer United Launch Alliance. In the days before competitive commercial options emerged in the market introduction industry, Delta 2 served the US government well. For example, from 1989 to 2009, 48 satellites were successfully launched for the US Air Force's Global Positioning System, making the satellite network the daily life of billions of people around the world. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

SpaceX Installs a Sleek Crew Access Arm . On Monday morning at the Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX technicians hoisted the team access arm to its final position and secured it near the top of the launch pad at Pad 39A, just below its 80-meter-high lightning mast. Its sleek black and white design contrasts starkly with the weathered gray bars of the pad, Florida Today reports

Checking a list … SpaceX still has a lot of work to do Before NASA's Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon Spacecraft are considered ready to fly, but getting this access arm in place is a tangible step toward takeoff. We are looking forward to an official launch date for the company's first demo mission, possibly in November. A manned flight could follow about six months later.

Will we ever stop using rockets to get into space ? That's the question posed in an article in RealClearScience, which states that the first liquid fuel rocket was launched 92 years ago. The article continues to enumerate a number of technologies, from a StarTram to huge airships and even the oft-discussed space elevator as an alternative way of bringing humans and payloads into orbit. None seems to be ready for prime time

Probably not soon … A few years ago, Jeff Bezos discussed the foundation of Blue Origin, and he talked about him (along with Neal Stephenson and several others others) wanted to find a better way than chemical rockets to open access to space. In the end, none of the other technologies were close, ready, affordable and / or doable. So Bezos went through fully for reusable rockets. We'll see that with New Glenn, just as we saw it with the Falcon Heavy. It seems that lowering the cost of chemical rockets, at least for the next decades, is the best option for cheaper access to space. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

How Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch Sounded . In a new episode, the Sound Traveler YouTube channel is sharing a "binaural audio immersion" version of the Falcon Heavy launch earlier this year. The video and sound, taken by the photographer Trevor Mahlmann, show what it was like to hear the launch in person.

Can Confirm … This audio and video movie that was in Florida on this day features the best portrayal of what it was like to actually see the Falcon Heavy-Start hear and to feel. (By the way, it was damn great). Be sure to watch it with good headphones. We also recommend seeing the next Falcon Heavy-Start as personal as possible.

The next three launches

NET August 25 : Long March 3B | BeiDou satellite | Xichang Satellite Launch Center | TBD

September 9 : Hawk 9 | Telstar 18 VANTAGE | Cape Canaveral Air Force Station | 03:33 UTC [19455920] September 10 : Ariane 5 | Horizons 3e and Azerspace 2 / Intelsat 38 Come Satellites | Kourou, French Guiana | 21:56 UTC


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