Enlarge /. A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Welcome to Issue 2.35 of the Missile Report! There is a lot to do this week, especially in the area of heavy-duty rockets. I would also like to inform readers that there will be no report next week as the range is being maintained, uh, a family vacation. We will see each other in two weeks!
As always, we look forward to readers' contributions. If you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear in AMP-enabled versions of the website). Each report contains information on small, medium and heavy-duty rockets and a brief overview of the next three launches on the calendar.
The relativity space extends the Mississippi tests. In an article published this week, Ars revealed that Relativity has expanded its portfolio at NASA's Stennis Space Center with two test cells in the E-2 complex. The California-based company now controls two thirds of the test benches for rocket engines in the NASA facility. Relativity acquired the 20-year leases as part of a competitive process.
Start in 18 months? … History also discusses the state of engine development in the company. The theory of relativity increased the thrust of his Aeon engine last year from £ 17,000 to £ 23,000 and began testing the more powerful engine components in December. The company plans to conduct fully integrated engine tests this summer and is now targeting the launch of its Terran 1 rocket in fall 2021.
Astra misses winning the DARPA challenge. On Monday, Astra came from a spaceport in Southern Alaska within 53 seconds of launching its Rocket 3.0, Ars reports. Less than a minute before the countdown, a sensor delivered some data about the missile, which Astra CEO Chris Kemp said "really worried" designated. Despite the prospect of losing a $ 2 million check from the U.S. agency for advanced defense research projects (and possibly another $ 10 million later this month), the Astra engineers stopped trying.
Long-awaited ability … Astra thought the problem could be with a faulty sensor because of bad data at times, but the engineers weren't sure. Kemp said the company was probably "weeks" away from trying again, rather than months. However, the window for the DARPA Launch Challenge is closed. The fact that no company has won the challenge underlines how difficult it is to build rockets – even small ones – and to put them into orbit quickly. DARPA has been promoting this capability for a long time and goes back to the time after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
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NASA observes human suborbital flights. With NASA now allowing researchers to conduct experiments on commercial suborbital spacecraft, the agency is starting a certification process that would allow its astronauts to fly with such vehicles as well. These efforts are apparently being driven by agency administrator Jim Bridenstine, reports SpaceNews.
Damn it, Jim, I'm an astronaut … "There is an interest in NASA, particularly its administrator, not only to make people payloads, but also payloads that we would call crew. In other words, NASA- Astronauts themselves would fly with equipment and fly with payloads, "said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine during a speech on March 2 at the next generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. (submitted by whiteknave)
PLD Space tests revised rocket engine. Nine months after the Spanish startup PLD Space suffered catastrophic engine damage, it successfully tested a new version. At the end of February, the engineers fired the regenerative TEPREL B engine for two minutes, the company said.
Coming soon … This test at an airport in Spain allowed the company to validate the nominal engine power over the entire two-minute mission. This is the time necessary to launch the MIURA 1 rocket into space. In a press release, the company's co-founder said PLD would "soon" attempt to launch, although that word definitely has different meanings in the aerospace industry. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Stratolaunch continues its comeback. Stratolaunch plans to resume test flights on its giant aircraft in September as the company continues to move from a take-off service provider to a provider of high-speed flight test services, reports SpaceNews. The stratolaunch aircraft flew only once in April 2019 in a test flight from Mojave Air and Space Port in California that lasted 2.5 hours.
Despite the company name … "We are working to be certified by the FAA. From September we fly at least once a month," said Mark Bitterman, Vice President of Government Relations and Business Development at Stratolaunch. said. These tests would take approximately eight months to get the aircraft certified. Stratolaunch no longer describes itself as a start-up company, but focuses on supporting high-speed flight tests such as hypersonic work. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Second falcon 9, which is exhibited publicly. A SpaceX rocket quietly landed in Houston and landed under cover of the night at NASA's visitor center, where it will soon be on display, Collect Space reports. The first stage of Falcon 9, which supplied the International Space Station on two missions contracted by NASA, was delivered by truck to Space Center Houston late Tuesday.
X marks the point … It arrived 10 months after the announcement that the booster would participate in the outdoor exhibits at the non-profit learning center for science and space research, which also serves as the official visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas. After the missile outside the company's Hawthorne, Calif., Factory, it will be the second "flown" first stage of Falcon 9 to be publicly exhibited in the United States.
A fun video tour of the ULA rocket factory. In this video from Smarter Every Day, Tory Bruno, Chief Executive of the United Launch Alliance, takes a tour of the company's factory in Decatur, Alabama. It's cool to see all of the hardware and the process that ULA uses to make its missiles.
This booster booster knows its boosters … Bruno again proves to be a profitable combination of nerdy rocket knowledge and humor. He was a really good public face for the company at a time when SpaceX was facing dramatic price pressures in the United States.
SpaceX is rapidly expanding operations in southern Texas. During a weekend visit to the Boca Chica launch site, Ars toured the large tents where SpaceX engineers and technicians built multiple spaceships at the same time. The visit followed a two-day stroll in late February, when the company doubled its workforce in southern Texas to more than 500 people. It's all part of Elon Musk's plan to increase production quickly. It seems to work. The entire feature is worth reading.
Lessons from Tesla … The first Starship prototype, MK1, took eight months to build. It only took South Texas a month from late January to late February to assemble SN1. And SN2 follows only about two weeks behind SN1. "The problem with the MK1 stuff was that I wasn't keeping an eye on the ball because I was still doing a lot of Tesla stuff," Musk said. "Now I think Tesla is in a good situation here, so I'm pretty much in Boca. The MK1 was a mistake, not because the missile failed at low pressure, but because we couldn't build a production line."
The SLS rocket will not launch until mid to late 2021. Steve Jurczyk, NASA Associate Administrator, said last Friday that the first launch of the Space Launch System with an unscrewed Orion spacecraft, Artemis I, will not take place until mid or late 2021, reports SpacePolicyOnline.com. It's nice to see a NASA official confirm what Ars Technica reported last July (notes checked).
Core phase does not keep up … The core phase of the SLS missile, which is now at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, is the delay. All other Artemis I hardware for Orion and SLS is more or less ready for use and is located in the Kennedy Space Center in the vehicle assembly building, said Jurczyk. (submitted by Ken the Bin and Unrulycow)
Falcon Heavy wins the start contract for the psyche mission. The world's most powerful rocket received its first NASA launch contract. NASA chose SpaceX to provide launch services for the agency's psyche mission, which is currently scheduled to launch in July 2022 from the 39A launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Let's find a few metals … The total cost to launch Psyche and secondary payloads from NASA is approximately $ 117 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs. The psyche mission will travel to a unique metal-rich asteroid, also known as the psyche, orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
KSC plans road works for New Glenn. Approximately 30 miles of streets winding through the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will soon experience multi-million dollar infrastructure changes that will accommodate the future transportation of Blue Origin's massive New Glenn rocket, Florida Today reports. The first stage of the rocket is about 60 meters long. "These are significant changes to accommodate a very large vehicle," said Dale Ketcham, vice president of government and foreign affairs for Space Florida, the publication. "We knew this would come. It was all part of the plan for New Glenn."
Allocation of costs … The journey for the first stages of New Glenn before the installation of the second stage and the nose cone begins in the company's factory east of the KSC main gate. In order to follow the more than 32 km long trek to his pad in Launch Complex 36, changes have to be made to road widths, light poles, fences, signs and more. The total cost of the project is estimated at $ 4.5 million, according to Space Florida, the state space agency. The Florida Department of Transportation is paying $ 2.7 million, with Blue doing the rest. On another point, it's nice to see that the company is more open to its plans on social media. (submitted by Fenris_uy)
Northrop is testing the second stage of the Omega rocket. Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the static fire test at the company's factories in Promontory, Utah. This brings Omega one step closer to certification for national security missions, reports SpaceNews.
A shot was delayed … During the test, the second stage engine fired for approximately 140 seconds over the entire duration and burned nearly 340,000 pounds of solid propellant to produce more than 785,000 pounds of thrust, Northrop Grumman said. The second stage test was originally scheduled for fall 2019, but was delayed due to anomalies in the first stage static fire test on May 30th. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Plans for Falcon Heavy's mobile service tower have been announced. Teslarati reports new renderings for an enclosure that would give the U.S. military the privacy it needs for its most secret satellites. This vertical integration of payloads represents a significant change in the horizontal integration process that SpaceX has followed so far.
It's a big one … The moving tower is 70 meters high and 12.2 meters wide and has a "crawler" base of 36 x 33 meters. There is no schedule to build the tower, and the company would likely only continue building the tower if the U.S. Air Force awarded it national security launch contracts for the 2022-2026 period. (Submitted by Ken the Bin)
The next three starts
7th March : Soyuz | Falcon Eye 2 | Kourou, French Guiana | 01:33 UTC
7th March: Falcon 9 | CRS-20 Mission to Supply the Space Station Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida | 04:50 UTC
9th March: Long March 3B | Beidou-3 geosatellite | Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China | 12:00 UTC