World news – US – missile report: SpaceX prepares to launch a second crew, a Chinese company that will reach orbit


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Eric Berger
– November 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM UTC

Welcome to version 3. 23 of the missile report! After almost no vacation during this year of years, the author of this report will attempt to take most of the next two weeks off (Starship allows). For this reason, Rocket Report will not be back until December 3. Thank you for your patience.

As always, submissions are welcome from our readers, and if you don’t want to miss out on any issues please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium, and heavy rockets as well as a sneak peek at the next three launches on the calendar.

Conducts relative space a full-term engine test. Relativity Space said Monday that the company has successfully completed a full-time test of the Aeon 1 rocket engine, running at full capacity for 187 seconds.. . The test was conducted at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi with all major components of the engine – including the turbine pumps, injector and combustion chamber – operating in a flight-like configuration.. Surprisingly, the company hit this milestone two months ahead of schedule.

Launching in 12 months? . . . In an interview with Ars, the company’s CEO, Tim Ellis, attributed the Aeon 1 engine’s success to its team of engineers and technicians, software prediction models, and the ability to quickly iterate and print new 3D parts as needed.. Successful engine testing gives the company confidence that it can achieve its goal of launching the first Terran 1 missile in 2021. The next step is integrated phase testing, which will take place next year, followed by a launch from the Space Launch Complex-16 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.. .

The operator is also performing engine tests. This week, Ars took a deeper look at Launcher, a (very) small New York-based company that’s building a rocket engine and then a small rocket.. Launcher has only eight US employees but appears to be making progress toward developing the E-2 rocket engine, which should boast a thrust of 22,000 pounds.. Launcher founder Max Haot says the company is still on track to complete development of the rocket engine for $ 10 million by the end of next year..

Work in progress . . . Last month, the company transferred the first components of its E-2 engine to a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.. During the first two series of tests, Launcher demonstrated that the test rig and its fuel injector, which mixes liquid oxygen and kerosene, are working well.. The third test was to evaluate the performance of the engine’s 3D printed combustion chamber as the fuel burns. It didn’t test well because three of the regenerative cooling ducts were clogged, and the chamber was extremely hot. Bomber planning to return to Stennis in March.

Galactic Energy succeeded in its first orbital launch. Chinese missile company Galactic Energy successfully sent a mini-satellite into orbit on Saturday with the first launch of its Ceres-1 launch vehicle.. The solid, four-stage missile took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near the Gobi Desert, and with its success, Galactic Energy became the second nominally Chinese private launcher to reach orbit, according to SpaceNews reports..

Sold on solid foods . . . Galactic Energy is the fourth overall Chinese private launcher to attempt an orbital launch, all equipped with lightweight, solid launchers.. LandSpace made the first attempt in October 2018, with OneSpace in March 2019. In July of last year, iSpace became the first to successfully achieve orbit with the launch of Hyperbola-1. Galactic Energy says it has raised $ 43 million in total since its inception in February 2018. (Submitted by Platecortec)

India is back in space with its first launch since January. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle took off on Saturday with the Indian EOS 1 radar imaging satellite and nine combined transport payloads for clients residing in the United States, Luxembourg and Lithuania.. The successful mission was the first to India’s launch in nearly a year due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Spaceflight Now reports..

Return to correct path . . . Indian officials halted the launches at the Satish Dhawan Space Center earlier this year as COVID-19 began to spread.. Meanwhile, travel and work restrictions imposed by the government have made it difficult to prepare for space missions in India’s launch schedule this year. India’s space agency ISRO says it now has a series of missions scheduled after Saturday’s successful flight. (Submitted by Ken Bin and Platecortek)

Virgin Galactic sets the goal of launching VSS Unity. The company revealed that the launch window for its SpaceShipTwo test flight from New Mexico will open on November 19 and will last for four days. SpaceShipTwo will carry revenue-generating payloads as part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program for this particular mission, according to Engadget reports..

Financially for things . . . Virgin plans to undertake another test mission with people on board in early 2021 before Virgin founder Richard Branson travels on his first commercial flight during the first quarter of next year.. The company compiled the announcement with its financial results report for the third quarter of 2020, recording a net loss of $ 77 million, which is higher than a net loss of $ 63 million for the previous quarter.. . (Submitted by Danneely)

The Scottish Space Port may face judicial review. Wildland Limited, the largest landowner in Scotland, has called for a judicial review of the decision by the local Highland Council and the Scottish government to proceed with the Sutherland Spaceport project, according to The Press and Journal reports. Tim Kirkwood, CEO of Wildland Limited, said, “It is absolutely imperative that planning applications of this scale and significance for environmentally vulnerable protected areas such as the A’Mhoine Peninsula come under strict scrutiny in the planning implementation phase..

Waivers already made . . . We have to note that the space outlets supporters have already undergone a major environmental impact study, in addition to a public comment period. During the process, they made major concessions to local Kroften makers (mainly, farmers) near the site in northern Scotland.. Another factor contributing to this process may be that Lockheed Martin is no longer interested in Sutherland. We are not pretending to understand Scottish politics, but we will watch that regardless. (Provided by BH)

NASA officially certifies Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon. After years of design, development, and testing, NASA has officially certified the first commercial spacecraft system in history capable of transporting humans to and from the International Space Station as part of the agency’s commercial crew program.. . This happened prior to the launch of Crew-1 scheduled for Saturday, November 14, and also follows SpaceX’s successful test flight of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft in May of this year..

The beginning of a new era? . . . Said Phil McAllister, NASA’s commercial spaceflight development manager. “We are really at the beginning of a new era of human spaceflight. (Submitted by Tfargo04 and Ken the Bin)

China sets reusable launch targets. At last week’s conference, Wu Yansheng, a senior official with the China Space Science and Technology Corporation, said that China will develop the first launch vehicle capable of vertical take-off and vertical landing (VTVL) by 2025.. . The space company is also working on rockets that are able to learn and operate independently, according to SpaceNews reports.

A five-year project . . . China’s first VTVL missile is expected to be the Long March 8, a new liquid kerosene / liquid oxygen launcher based on technology developed for the Long March 7. Animation indicates that the first stage will land on an offshore platform with side boosters still attached. A prototype Long March 8 flight is believed to have arrived at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island late last month.. This first launch is likely to be a consumer version of the Long March 8. (Submitted by Ken Bin and Platecortek)

Large rocket companies doubt the feasibility of a small launch. Executives of major launch companies said they doubted there was sufficient demand for more than a few small launch vehicle developers, citing their own efforts to provide co-ride launch services for small satellites.. Tory Bruno, CEO and president of the United Launch Alliance, said a year ago that it was tracking more than 120 projects in the small launch vehicle market, or the ‘microlauncher’ market.. He said during a panel discussion at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week, there are now « far fewer » of these companies, according to SpaceNews reports.

Limited request . . . « I don’t expect this market to recover because this market would have seen a huge increase in supply – like volume – had all these startups succeeded, » he said.. “There is really only a place, in our judgment, for maybe two or three of these. SpaceX added Gwynne Shotwell, “The market needs to evolve. It’s hard work. Bruno, Shotwell and the other big companies may be right, but it’s hard not to see comments like this as self-serving at least.. (Submitted by Platecortec)

About SpaceX’s $ 316 million launch contract. When the US Air Force announced on August 7 that SpaceX had received a $ 316 million contract to launch a National Reconnaissance Office satellite in fiscal year 2022, some industry watchers were surprised by the price rise.. . But much of that funding covers infrastructure expenditures and other items required under the National Security Space Launch Phase II launch service purchase, SpaceNews reports..

Preloaded contract . . . « The launch was not prohibitively expensive, » Shotwell said during a panel discussion at the virtual conference of Global Business Satellite Week hosted by Euroconsult.. . SpaceX, unlike its competitors, has not received development funding, charges the government for the cost of the extended payload display, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad in Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions. Shotwell said the price « mostly reflects the infrastructure ».. (Submitted by Platykurtic and Ken the Bin)

NASA confirms the delay in the SLS Green Run tests. The space agency said last Friday that it and Boeing are continuing to work towards completing the last two of eight tests as part of Green Run activities at the Stennis Space Center.. . This will culminate in the primary stage hot-flame test. However, NASA acknowledged that those final tests would be delayed until late December at the earliest. Engineers are working on a problem with a diffusion providing liquid hydrogen to the RS-25 rocket engines.

Taking time to make repairs . . . NASA said the mainstream performance has been « inconsistent » during recent tests. Engineers inspected the valve, understood why it was not working properly, and plan to repair the valve while the primary stage remains on Test Stand B-2. After a successful repair, the team plans to do a Green Run rehearsal for the wet uniform and hot fire test before the end of the year. For what it’s worth, two sources described such a schedule as « optimistic » for Ars. (Submitted by Ken Bin)

SpaceX is making progress towards a 15 km flight. After stacking a nose cone on top of the prototype SN8 Starship in late October, SpaceX engineers in Boca Chica, Texas, successfully tested the liquid oxygen head tank at the top of the vehicle. Then, on Tuesday, the company completed the single-engine head tank static fire test.

It’ll probably be Thanksgiving, you know . . . In all likelihood, the company will run two or three additional steady fire tests to ensure the Starship’s prototype fully performs before attempting a launch with three Raptor engines.. This 15 km journey, which will provide a very difficult test vehicle for attempting to descend from this altitude, will likely not take place before the last ten days of November.

November. 16: Electron | The ‘return to sender’ task | Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand | 01:44 UTC

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World News – United States – Rocket Report: SpaceX Ready to Launch Second Crew, Chinese Company Comes into Orbit
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