Rocket report: NASA buys SpinLaunch, space forces visit Starbase

Increase / SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Endeavor spacecraft are expected to launch the Axiom-1 crew on Friday.

Trevor Malman

Welcome to 4.38 Rocket Report! We are already in the second quarter of 2022, no matter how hard it is to believe. This means that many companies looking to introduce new rockets this year, including the United Launch Alliance, ABL Space Systems, Relativity Space and Arianespace, have less than nine months to work.

As always, we welcome readers’ materials, and if you don’t want to miss the issue, sign up using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy missiles, as well as a brief overview of the next three launches in the calendar.

The missile laboratory is ready to be captured by helicopter. After several experimental tests, Rocket Lab announced that for the first time will try to capture in the air the first stage of the Electron rocket. The company will make this attempt during its next flight with a launch window that will open on April 19 for a round-trip mission to deploy 34 small satellites. Once the first stage completes the acceleration phase in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, it will separate and begin to descend at speeds of up to 8300 km per hour.

Fall, spin, catch? … Nominally, the brake parachute should deploy at an altitude of 13 km and then the main rocket parachute at an altitude of about 6 km to dramatically slow down the stage to 10 meters per second. When the scene enters the capture zone, Rocket Lab’s Sikorsky S-92 helicopter will try to meet the returning step and capture the parachute line through the hook. If successful, Rocket Lab engineers and technicians will conduct a thorough analysis of the scene and assess its suitability for re-flight. Good luck hunting, Rocket Lab! (presented by Ken Bean and Tfargo04)

Georgia’s spaceport came back from the dead? In March, voters in Camden County, Georgia, by an overwhelming majority of 78 to 22 percent voted for local authorities not to buy 4,000 acres of land for the vertical launch pad. But some county officials apparently did not understand the message. Now, says Steve Howard, administrator of Camden County and project manager of the Camden Cosmodrome, Spearhead Capital officials will hold a public seminar with the county commission. This session on April 7 will discuss the creation of a special fund to raise funds from private investors, according to local television.

Ignoring the will of the public … “We’re excited to hear from this company next week; what their vision is and how well they can reconcile this public-private partnership opportunity, which we think would be amazing to use,” Howard said. So far, the county has spent more than seven years and more than $ 10 million developing the spaceport project. It seems a bit strange to me that local officials have continued this project so vigorously after the public has spoken out so strongly against it. (presented by zapman987)

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The UAE is leaning towards the space sector. Over the next decade, the United Arab Emirates plans to invest more than $ 800 million in the private space sector to increase the country’s space capabilities. Economic zones dedicated to space activities will be created in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah to allow startups and well-known companies to establish their activities, according to The National News. The country seeks to support its commercial space industry through a number of public-private partnerships.

At least a suborbital launch … “Some of the largest private companies in space today, such as SpaceX, would not have achieved the amazing success they have today, and would not have pushed the boundaries of innovation without the support of NASA and government contracts,” said Ibrahim Al -Kasim, Executive Director of the UAE Space Agency. It is unclear whether the country has ambitions to launch into orbit, it is already working with Blue Origin to support the New Shepard suborbital space tourism system. (presented by EllPeaTea)

SpinLaunch for the NASA payload flight during a test flight. NASA has signed to launch a payload using a kinetic energy-based suborbital system developed by a California company SpinLaunch. The test flight, expected later this year, “will provide valuable information to NASA for potential future commercial launch opportunities,” told SpinLaunch. The fact that NASA describes this mission through its flight capability program is interesting because there is quite a bit of skepticism in the space industry about the SpinLaunch approach.

Spin to win? … The company’s strategy involves accelerating rockets to tremendous speed on Earth using a rotating arm and then tossing them into the sky (beautiful background from Scott Manley). Launchers will ignite their engines when they are already high in the sky, greatly reducing the amount of fuel and equipment – and further money – needed to enter orbit. However, the video of the test flight, published by the company last November, was not very impressive. The company says it will be ready for orbital flights by 2025. (presented by Tfargo04 and Ken Bean)

Astra reports on operational progress. Astra’s fresh first successful delivery of commercial satellites into low Earth orbit was published on Thursday in a blog post aimed at showcasing its efficiency gains. “This is our ultimate dimension that allows us to deliver to our customers,” wrote Bryson Gentile, the company’s vice president. “We are working to reduce the number of days between launches, and we hope this trend continues.”

More missiles, less delays … In its report, the company showed both an increased launch frequency and a higher level of production of its Rocket 3. Astra said it is currently producing a rocket monthly and aims to increase that speed later in 2022. Astra has also released other indicators showing that it is starting to work, noting that while its LV0007 trial requires 10 days for static fire and countdown. , these activities were completed in two days for the last LV0009 mission. (presented by Ken Bean)

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