Welcome to Rocket Report version 3.33! Lots of news this week about NASA awarding contracts to launch companies as well as some new details about a pair of German rocket startups seeking to develop orbital boosters.
As usual we are Readers’ offers are welcomeAnd if you don’t want to miss out on any issues, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-supported 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.
Firefly wins the contract for the moon lander. Texas-based NASA Firefly has awarded $ 93.3 million to deliver a batch of 10 NASA-sponsored science and technology demonstration payloads to Mare Crisium in the Crisium Basin on the Moon. Firefly’s “Blue Ghost” Lunar Lander will deliver payloads to the surface of the Moon in 2023 in implementation of the Lunar Surface Payload Services Task Order. The company said.
How will you fly to the moon? “This award is further validation for Firefly, its team, and its mission to become a versatile provider of a wide range of space-related services,” said Max Polyakov, founder of Noosphere Ventures, Firefly’s largest investor. What is not clear is how the large probe reached the moon, as the mission is too large to launch on the company’s alpha booster. A company spokesperson said a launcher had not yet been identified. (Submitted by Ken Bin)
Iran is testing a new hard missile called Ziljana. Iranian state television reported that Iran had test-fired a new missile using its “most powerful” solid-fuel engine so far. According to Israel Hayom. “This three-stage carrier can compete with current global aircraft carriers, and it has two solid and one liquid propulsion stages,” said Ahmed Hosseini, a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry’s space division. Hosseini added that the missile was launched for “research purposes.”
Starting from anywhere? Hosseini said that the Zilijana missile was capable of placing a payload of up to 220 kg in an orbit of 500 km. Hosseini said that the Zulana missile could be launched from a mobile platform. Last April, the IRGC launched the country’s first military satellite, Noor, into orbit after a similar launch failed two months ago. (Submitted by arstechmfw)
ABL is chosen to launch from the UK. Lockheed Martin says it has chosen California-based ABL Space Systems to launch its first orbital missile from the UK – a mission expected to be launched from Scotland in 2023. No rockets have been launched into orbit from UK soil, Ars Reports.
RS1 debut this spring? … the launch is part of an agreement between the UK government and Lockheed to boost the country’s commercial small satellite launch industry. In selecting ABL Space, Lockheed chose a company that had not yet launched a missile, although its RS1 is expected to make its debut during the second quarter of this year.
Augsburg missile seeks to get 25 million euros. The German startup said in a press release that it will seek a new round of financing to boost its growth. “We want to make the best and cheapest rockets and bombers,” said Hans Stinger, vice chair of the supervisory board and founding investor of the Rocket Factory. “With shipping costs of 3 million euros per launch, we will be able to offer the cheapest launch service in the world by far.”
It would be a great value … the company is one of the most promising new space projects in Germany, and it has symbolic plans to launch a missile capable of lifting about one ton into low Earth orbit from the Norwegian island of Andoya in 2023. If it really is possible to deliver that level of performance in less than 4 million dollars, that would be a heavy price. But first, the company has to do it.
Rocket Lab is set to deploy 100 satellites. The company said Its 19th launch of Electron is now scheduled for mid-March, and this flight will bring the total number of satellites that Electron has launched to 104. The “They Go Very Fast” mission will carry seven satellites as part of its manifesto.
Go to the moon Most interestingly, the mission will launch Rocket Lab’s Foton Bathstone vehicle, which was designed and built in-house. The spacecraft will operate in orbit as a risk-reducing demonstration ahead of the Rocket Lab mission to the moon for NASA later this year. In space, the Bathstone Photon will showcase power management, thermal control, and attitude control subsystems, among other features. (Submitted by Ken Bin and Platecortek)
HyImpulse to be launched from Scotland. Germany-based HyImpulse Technologies plans to start testing the engine and launching sub-orbital sounding missiles in Shetland this year, with the goal of reaching its first orbital flight in 2023. Parabolic Arc Reports. The decision is a hopeful sign of a spaceport development effort at the Shetland Space Center on Britain’s Unset Island.
From Germany to Scotland Christian Schmerer, Co-CEO of HyImpulse, said, “We have signed letters of intent with several potential clients to take their payloads into orbit. So it was very important for us to secure the launch pad and site early and start planning our mission. Space offers reliable and repeatable access to space with a large variety of effective flight methods. ”The company is developing the SR75 SBR and SL1 orbit missile. (Submitted by Platecortec)
Are absolute investors heading towards a “fraternity killing project?” In a brief report on this week’s SmallSat 2023 Symposium, Covers SpaceNews Opinions varied about the plethora of launch companies seeking to develop rockets for small satellites. While some observers saw increased launch vehicle development efforts as a sign of a “feverish” market, others see these efforts as a sign of shifting demand.
Unsure of the value of smart launch services … perhaps the most lively comment came from Steve Jurvetson, a skeptical SpaceX board member that small launch vehicles can compete with the prices offered by Falcon 9’s ride-sharing missions. Commenting on the investors in those companies, he said, “This is amazing: Billions of dollars are basically going into the exact same market segment. I’ve never seen anything like that,” describing all the investments that go into these companies as “sibling killing.” (Submitted by Platecortec)
SpaceX sees strong demand for ride-sharing. During a separate panel discussion at the SmallSat 2023 symposium this week, a SpaceX official said the company has two additional ride-sharing missions scheduled for this year following the launch of the Falcon 9 Transporter-1 in January, SpaceNews reports. “Customer demand has been very strong. Demand is on the rise, so we will definitely have some full rockets coming,” said Jarrod McLachlan, Senior Ride Sales Manager at SpaceX.
“Empowering people with creativity” … and it should be noted that the company says it sees the satellite market interact with a lower price point of $ 5,000 per kilogram and the size and mass of SpaceX’s bid. “We see some people optimizing their spacecraft and designing their constellations around this size, as well as some merger partners / intermediaries that do multiple spacecraft in one port,” said Jarrod McLachlan. “ Being public with our pricing and requirements really enables people to be creative. (Submitted by Ken the Bin, Platykurtic)
NASA has chosen Falcon 9 to launch the SPHEREx mission. The space agency said it will use the Falcon 9 rocket to launch the Spectrophotometer of the History of the Universe, the Era of Reionization, the Ices Explorer, or the SPHEREx mission, as early as June 2024. The total cost for NASA to launch SPHEREx is approximately $ 98.8 million, which includes the launch service And other mission-related costs.
Answer cosmic questions … the mission will take place from Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The astrophysics mission will scan the skies in near-infrared light to answer cosmic questions regarding the birth of the universe and the subsequent development of galaxies. It will also search for water and organic molecules. (Submitted by Ken Bin)
NASA chose the Falcon Heavy to launch the Lunar Gateway. Tuesday, The space agency said It plans to launch the power and propulsion component along with the home unit on the Falcon Heavy. The mission is set no later than May 2024, and once it enters its lunar orbit, the portal will act as a waypoint for astronauts traveling to the lunar surface.
Good money if you can get it … SpaceX would receive $ 331.8 million, including launch service and other mission-related costs, for the flight. This is much more than the advertised price of the Falcon Heavy. However, by 2024, the only other missile capable of launching the Gateway, NASA’s Space Launch System, will likely cost between $ 1.5 billion and $ 2 billion for a similar mission. NASA is not expected to have an SLS standby missile anyway, given the long time required to manufacture the SLS core. (Submitted by Tfargo04, platykurtic. And Ken the Bin)
An SLS supporter will not be nominated for re-election. Senator Richard Shelby (R from Ala) used his seniority in the US Senate to wield enormous power over NASA’s human spaceflight program for the better part of a decade. He advocated funding for the Space Launch System missile and sought to reduce funding for the commercial crew. But he is now a minority after the Democrats took control of the Senate. And this week, Shelby announced that he will not run for re-election in 2023.
So what happens now? … As Ars reportsIt seems likely that the departure of Shelby will make it easier for Biden the White House to cancel the SLS missile program if he continues to face technical difficulties, such as The hot fire test is incomplete From the basic stage. It would also make the end of the program inevitable should SpaceX succeed in launching the Starship into orbit on its Super Heavy missile. Without a strong prop like the Shelby, it should be impossible to ignore the fact that the heavy lift rocket that costs much less than the SLS, has greater lift capacity, and is capable of multiple reuse.
NASA confirms that it will not launch the Clipper on the SLS. It is at last Official. NASA is no longer considering launching the Europa Clipper mission on the Space Launch System, and has decided instead to launch the spacecraft on a commercial rocket it will purchase next year. SpaceNews reports. During a February 10 presentation at the NASA Exoplanet Assessment Group meeting, the Europa Clipper project leaders said the agency had recently decided to consider commercial launch vehicles only.
The end of a long battle “We now have clarity on the path of the launch vehicle and the launch date,” said Robert Pappalardo, a Europa Clipper project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This clarity came in the form of a January 25 memo from the NASA Planetary Missions Program Office to “immediately halt efforts to maintain SLS compliance” and move forward with the commercial launch vehicle. Thus ends a long political battle fought by Senator Richard Shelby (see item above) to keep Kleber on the SLS. (Submitted by BH)
The next three launches
February 12: Falcon 9 | Starlink-19 | Kennedy Space Center, Florida | 05:25 UTC
February 15: Soyuz | 77p progress | Baikonur Space Base | 04:45 UTC
February 20: Antares | Northrop Grumman-15 mission to the International Space Station | Wallops Island, Virginia | 17:36 UTC