Welcome to Edition 3.10 of the Rocket Report! Now that Perseverance of Mars is safely on its way to the red planet, we are happy to congratulate the space agencies in the UAE, China, and the United States on their successful launches to Mars this summer. It’s great to go three to three in the 2020 launch window. In February, we will see how safely they reach their final destination.
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you do not want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below. Each report should include information on small, medium and heavy launch rockets, perhaps a little snarky, as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.
Virgin Galactic reveals an interior look of the cabin. Virgin Galactic released the first image of that interior of her VSS Merger the spacecraft looks like. The design shows seating capacity for up to six passengers flying aboard the rocket-powered spacecraft, cresting at altitudes above 80km, and experiencing a few minutes of overweight. The company says it is planning for one or two more operated tests, followed by final test flights from New Mexico, before starting full commercial service for passengers.
What does the real cabin look like? It is noteworthy that the stylish images and video released by the company on Tuesday show the most rendering instead of actual photos inside Merger or video from within the space plane. This raises some questions about how the final modifications should be in the cabin and when they may actually be ready for customer payment, reports Ars.
The British government finalizes the launch regulations. The British government expects to quickly release a comprehensive set of regulations that will allow companies to carry out commercial launches from sportsports in the country. An estimated 900 pages of regulations should cover the licensing and supervision of launch vehicles and launch sites, SpaceNews reports.
Not exactly a wow beach … The British government says it has worked closely with the US Federal Aviation Administration, which has decades of experience in commercial launch regulations. That cooperation should reduce the regulatory burden for any U.S. vehicle seeking to launch from the UK, such as Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, although those launches will still require an FAA launch license in addition to any UK government license. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Selected location for the selected Michigan launch pad. Proponents say they have chosen a 5km stretch of undeveloped land along Lake Superior, in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan, for a vertical launch site. The Detroit Free Press reports that the site could be operational in the next five or six years if plans are carried out. The effort is being led by Gavin Brown, executive director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association.
The convergence of autos and space? … “Car manufacturers are trying to pinpoint how to get that connectivity into their cars,” Brown said, noting that his group’s pushing effort must enable car manufacturers of Detroit to benefit from a network that companies do not have to build on their own. He noted the advantage Tesla enjoys because of Elon Musk’s connection as founder of SpaceX, which has become a major player in the commercial space industry. The author of this newsletter grew up in Michigan and this seems reluctant, but we still follow him with interest. (submitted by JohnCarter17)
China launches its 21st mission of 2021. Shortly after launching the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars, China launched a Long 4B rocket carrying three satellites last Friday. The main payload was the Ziyuan-3 remote sensing satellite, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, along with two small satellites for X-ray astronomy and commercial data acquisition.
In the middle there … The launch was China’s 21st 2020, including three shortcomings, SpaceNews reports. The inaugural flights of Kuaizhou-11 and Long March 7A ended in failure. The Palapa-N1 communications satellite was lost during the long March 3B launch. China’s space corporation said it plans to launch about 40 missions by 2020 at the beginning of the year (submitted by Ken the Bin and JohnCarter17)
The sports plan on space in Georgia is growing more contentious. Georgia’s sports promoters in Camden County must obtain a site license from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA organized its initial public meeting for the project in December 2015, and the county paid at least $ 1.2 million to consulting company Leidos to prepare the original environmental impact statement. The proposal has provoked much opposition from critics, most of whom cite environmental concerns.
The review is ongoing … Now, those critics are weeping over an unsuccessful effort by Republic of Georgia Buddy Carter to amend a transportation bill, reports the Savannah Morning News. Critics said it was an effort to curb the environmental review needed for space. The Republican Congressman, who recently bought land near the space sport, denied this. The FAA is currently planning to complete its environmental review in the autumn of 2021. (submitted by JohnCarter17)
DoD delivery process sends “mixed signals.” The Pentagon earlier this month reversed an earlier decision to award Defense Production Act contracts to six small launch companies. The face-to-face sends “mixed signals” to an industry that has been financially devastated by the economic crisis caused by the virus, said Mandy Vaughn, president of VOX Space, SpaceNews reports.
Aren’t we a priority? … VOX Space was one of six companies notified in June to collectively receive $ 116 million in contracts to launch small satellites for the U.S. government. The DoD apparently withdrew the grants due to widespread complaints about the selection process of those six companies. Vaughn said companies that notify contract awards and follow them up show “a bit of disobedience” and send a message to the industry that DoD doesn’t consider it a priority. (submitted by platykurtic)
Why an early investor split from Rocket Lab. The New Zealand-based publication published a feature article on Mark Rocket, an early investor who worked closely with Rocket Lab from 2006 to 2008. Initially, Rocket and the company’s founder, Peter Beck, ruled out launching military cargo amounts, the article said. states “Initially we were hoping not to do … certain types of projects,” Rocket told the publication, explaining why he left in 2011. “I was passionate about the business side. You have a kind of job where that line is for you.”
I see the light on national security … Since 2008, Beck has explained why his views on the issue have evolved. “You also have to remember that intelligence keeps us safe,” Beck said. “Unfortunately there are a lot of bad players in the world. I am New Zealander, but you must also understand that national security is a global thing. It is not the responsibility of a single country. New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes … it is good much to criticize national security to the very day you need it. ”Undoubtedly this helps pay the bills as well. (submitted by platykurtic)
Atlas V launches Perseverance of Mars. Rocket Atlas V successfully launched the Mars Perseverance mission Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The upper stage of the rocket Centaur pushed the spacecraft out of Earth’s gravity well toward Mars. The spacecraft is about to arrive on the red planet in February, while NASA will try to land its heaviest rover ever, Ars reports. NASA said it is working to solve a communication problem with the spacecraft.
Oxygen on Mars … With a mass of 1,025 metric tons, the Perseverance the rover is about 14 percent rougher than its predecessor, Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012. He is conducting several notable experiments, including a small helicopter and the MOXIE experiment, which will seek to produce oxygen from the thin atmosphere of Mars. If this experiment is successful, it should show the potential to release liquid oxygen to rockets launching from the surface of Mars.
NASA selects astronauts for the launch of Crew-2. This will be SpaceX Crew Dragon’s second operational flight to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot respectively for the mission. JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join as mission specialists.
Spring launch … Crew-2 is set to launch in Spring 2021 on a Falcon 9 rocket, following the successful completion of NASA’s two SpaceX Demo-2 test missions (which are expected to returns to Earth on August 2) and the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Mission Crew-1 (which is aimed at the end of September). Crew-2 astronauts remain aboard the space station for about six months as members of the expedition crew. (submitted by Tfargo04 and JohnCarter17)
Proton has finally debuted for 2020. Two satellites designed to broadcast radio and television broadcasts, Internet connectivity, and other communication services across Russia have arrived on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for removal. Thursday, Spaceflight Now reports. This will be the first Proton launch of 2020.
The Proton rocket was launched last December … Capable of lifting as much as 23.7 metric tons to low Earth orbit, the Proton rocket once dominated the commercial launch market but has since seen a reduced launch frequency due to reliability and pressure issues. costs from competitors such as the Falcon 9 rocket. It could launch two or three more times over the rest of 2020.
SpaceX applies for an FAA license for the Starship stupa. On Tuesday, SpaceX filed its application for a launch license to fly its Starship vehicle up to 20km. The company stated that its purpose is for “experimental altitude testing, landing, and recovery of the Starship Prototype suborbital test vehicle from Boca Chica TX.”
Tests later this year? … The proposed test dates run from August 18, 2020, to February 18, 2021. It is unclear which Starship prototype will be tested up to 20km. The current prototype at the launch of the pad in Boca Chica, SN5, could make a short hop up to 150 meters if it passes a successful static fire test this weekend. (submitted by danneely)
Next three launches
July 30: Proton | Express 80 and Express 103 | Baikonur, Kazakhstan | 21:25 UTC
31 July: Ariane 5 | Galaxy 30, MEV-2 & BSAT-4B satellites | Kourou, French Guiana 21:30 UTC
1 August: Falkun 9 | Starlink Mission-9 | Kennedy Space Center, Fla. | 07:21 UTC (probably delayed due to weather)