General Space Discussion (Thread 1)


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DocM

House hearing on the Artemis Moon landing program,

 

 

 

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DocM

To absolutely no one's surprise...but to N-G and Blue Origin's consternation,

 

https://spacenews.com/pentagon-picks-spacex-and-ula-to-launch-national-security-satellites-for-next-five-years/

 

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Breaking News | Pentagon picks SpaceX and ULA to remain its primary launch providers

 

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Air Force announced Aug. 7 that incumbents United Launch Alliance and SpaceX have been selected to receive five-year contracts totaling $653 million to launch national security satellites for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

The companies beat Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman in the four-way competition known as the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement.

United Launch Alliance on Aug. 7 received a $337 million contract for two Phase 2 missions and SpaceX received a $316 million contract for one Phase 2 mission planned between between fiscal 2022 through fiscal 2027, according to the Pentagon’s announcement. The U.S. government’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Between 2022 and 2027 SpaceX and ULA will collectively will fly as many as 34 missions for the Department of Defense and the National Reconnaissance Office under the firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contracts.
>

 

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DocM
On 4/4/2018 at 11:17 PM, DocM said:

Europa Clipper update

 

 

Follow-up

 

Besides not wanting to put a $4 billion spacecraft in an industrial size mixer, SLS won't be available for Europa Clipper until 2025+ - but the spacecraft will be ready in 2024

 

https://spacenews.com/compatibility-issue-adds-new-wrinkle-to-europa-clipper-launch-vehicle-selection/

 

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Compatibility issue adds new wrinkle to Europa Clipper launch vehicle selection

 

WASHINGTON — A long-running debate about how to launch a multibillion-dollar NASA mission to Jupiter is now further complicated by potential technical issues involving one of the vehicles.

At an Aug. 17 meeting of NASA’s Planetary Science Advisory Committee, Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said the Europa Clipper mission had recently discovered compatibility issues involving the Space Launch System, the vehicle preferred by Congress to launch the spacecraft.

“There have been some issues that have been uncovered just recently,” she said of the use of SLS for Europa Clipper. “We are in a lot of conversations right now with human exploration and others within the agency about what kind of steps we can take going forward.”

She did not elaborate on the compatibility issues regarding SLS. Such issues, industry sources say, likely involve the environment the spacecraft would experience during launch, such as vibrations. 
>

 

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DocM

NASA wants to buy moon samples,

Request For Quotations: 

https://beta.sam.gov/opp/77726177617a45d0a196e23a587d7c14/view#general

https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2020/9/10/21429850/nasa-moon-rocks-sampling-commercial-space-transaction-lunar-marketplace

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NASA wants to buy Moon rocks from private companies

 

Can you prove you’ve bagged lunar dirt? NASA will pay you

NASA is officially in the market for Moon rocks - and it’s willing to pay any company that’s capable of scooping them up.

Today, the space agency is putting out a call for proposals from companies, challenging them to snag small samples of rocks on the Moon’s surface. The companies will have to prove that they have collected lunar samples in some kind of small container by sending pictures and data to NASA. If satisfied, NASA pledges to purchase the samples for between $15,000 and $25,000. Eventually, NASA will retrieve the rock samples and bring them back to Earth.

NASA ultimately wants the exchange to happen before 2024 — the agency’s current deadline for sending people back to the Moon. For companies that can pull this off, NASA will pay a small portion of the money when awarding the contract and during launch. The rest of the funds will be received when the sample is bagged. NASA says it may also make multiple awards to separate companies that can grab Moon rocks.
>

 

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DocM

NASA + Space Force partnership, replacing the old NASA + USAF partnership.

 

More of a handoff than a policy change.

 

https://spacenews.com/nasa-affirms-partnership-with-space-force-bridenstine-stresses-value-of-soft-power/

 

Quote

NASA affirms partnership with Space Force, Bridenstine stresses value of ‘soft power’

 

WASHINGTON — NASA and the U.S. Space Force have formally agreed to work together in areas like space policy, research, technology and the protection of the planet from hazardous objects such as asteroids.

Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond discussed the new memorandum of understanding Sept. 22 in a live virtual event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

The memorandum replaces an agreement signed 14 years ago between NASA and the U.S. Air Force Space Command, which was disestablished when the Space Force was created Dec. 20, 2019.
>
NASA is a civilian agency and has no role in military operations. NASA would turn to the Space Force, for example, if its assets in orbit came under hostile attack. “The space domain is becoming more challenging and those challenges affect NASA just like they affect the commercial operators,” said Bridenstine. “And that’s really where we rely on the Space Force to be supportive of what we’re trying to achieve.”
>

 

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DocM

New FAA space transportation reforms

 

Largely a streamlining

 

PDF...

 

Quote

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Historic Commercial Space Transportation Reforms

 

Press Release From: FAA
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2020

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today announced the publication of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Final Rule (PDF) for commercial space transportation launches and reentries.

“This historic, comprehensive update to commercial space launch and reentry licensing requirements facilitates greater growth in this industry and helps America to maintain our #1 position in the world,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

This rule modernizes the way FAA regulates and licenses commercial space operations and allows the burgeoning aerospace industry to continue to innovate and grow, while maintaining public safety. 

Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council Dr. Scott Pace said, “In meeting the President’s mandate in Space Policy Directive-2 to streamline regulations on commercial spaceflight, the Department of Transportation is strengthening the United States’ continued leadership in space commerce. I commend Secretary Chao, the Department, and the Office of Commercial Space Transportation for updating launch regulations and licensing to ensure the United States remains the flag of choice for the growing commercial space sector.”

The new rule consolidates four regulatory parts and applies a single set of licensing and safety regulations for all types of vehicle operations. It also provides flexibility for operators to meet safety requirements. The rule improves efficiency by encouraging launch and reentry operators to suggest and implement design and operational solutions to meet the regulatory standards.

“This rule paves the way for an industry that is moving at lightning speed,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “We are simplifying the licensing process and enabling industry to move forward in a safe manner.” 

The final rule’s improved application processes allow:

A single operator’s license that can be used to support multiple launches or reentries from potentially multiple launch site locations.

Early review when applicants submit portions of their license application incrementally.

Applicants to negotiate mutually agreeable reduced time frames for submittals and application review periods.

Applicants to apply for a safety element approval with a license application, instead of needing to submit a separate application.

Additional flexibility on how to demonstrate high consequence event protection.

Neighboring operations personnel to stay during launch or reentry in certain circumstances.

Ground safety oversight to be scoped to better fit the safety risks and reduce duplicative requirements when operating at a federal site.

This rule will become effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. The FAA will initially seek public comment (for a period of 30 days) on three Advisory Circulars  (ACs) on the following topics:  High Consequence Protection (PDF), High Fidelity Flight Safety Analysis (PDF), and Computing Systems and Software (PDF). The FAA may issue updated versions of these ACs if warranted based on comments received.  Each AC will contain a feedback form with specific instructions on how to provide comments to the FAA on that AC.

Twenty-four additional ACs will be published within one year or as needed. Legacy licenses can still be used for up to five years after the rule’s effective date.

FAA is responsible for ensuring the protection of the public, property, national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. during commercial launch or reentry activities. The agency also encourages, facilitates, and promotes U.S. commercial space transportation. To date, FAA has licensed or permitted more than 380 launches and reentries.

// end //

 

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FloatingFatMan

What's happening with that Bigelow module that was installed on the ISS a few years ago? Not heard anything about it in quite a long time...

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Emn1ty
8 hours ago, FloatingFatMan said:

What's happening with that Bigelow module that was installed on the ISS a few years ago? Not heard anything about it in quite a long time...

I think it's now a permanent part of the station. But yeah, I've not heard much about Bigelow for a while.

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DocM
15 hours ago, FloatingFatMan said:

What's happening with that Bigelow module that was installed on the ISS a few years ago? Not heard anything about it in quite a long time...

 

It's part of the station for now, but Covid-19 closures in Nevada caused Bigelow to shut down & lay everyone off just as they were bidding for an even larger ISS module. Bigelow's shutdown resulted in Axiom Space getting the ISS contract, and their station module will be attached about 2024. Built by Thales Alenia.

 

Even before then Axiom will be flying commercial "Spaceflight Participants" to ISS using Crew Dragon starting Q4 2021. What of Bigelow's future? Unknown, but Sierra Nevada Corp. (of Dream Chaser) is also building an inflatable habitat called LIFE (Large Inflatable Fabric Environment).  SNC has big bux.

 

Under US law commercial Spaceflight Participants get FAA commercial spaceflight wings, not NASA astronaut wings.

 

FAA wings

640px-US_-_FAA_Astronaut_Wings.png

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DocM

NASA and FAA commercial spaceflight partnership, including point-to-point suborbital transportation as SpaceX has proposed for Starship; less than 30 minutes to most anywhere within 10,000 km.

 

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-faa-partnership-bolsters-american-commercial-space-activities

 

Jan. 8, 2021

RELEASE 21-002

 

NASA, FAA Partnership Bolsters American Commercial Space Activities

 

NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) reaffirming the agencies’ longstanding relationship to foster robust American commercial space transportation capabilities, including commercial crew and cargo activities.

The NASA-FAA MOU follows the success of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 launch – the first crewed mission from American soil to be licensed by the FAA.

 

The new agreement will support the transportation of government and non-government passengers, cargo, and other payloads for orbital and suborbital space missions in a safe and cost-effective manner, as well as streamline spaceflight standards and requirements.

 

“NASA is now flying commercial cargo and crew missions to the International Space Station, and soon we will send more people and science to space on new suborbital flights,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Our partnership with the FAA will support the growth of American commercial aerospace capabilities that will benefit NASA, the nation, and the entire world.”

 

Under the MOU, NASA and the FAA will focus on building a clear framework for private industry to follow for commercial launch and re-entry, as well as coordinating an approach for sharing safety data with the public to enhance understanding of the known risks of commercial space travel. NASA also will collaborate with the FAA on the licensing of orbital and suborbital flights, facilitating new space technologies and research opportunities, and advancing point-to-point commercial suborbital pilot programs. The FAA is responsible for the regulations governing commercial space launch and re-entry licensing. 

“The partnership between the FAA and NASA is vital to continue the growth, innovation and safety of commercial space operations, and maintain the pre-eminence of U.S. leadership in the aerospace sector,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

 

Continuing this partnership is critical to achieving the goals and objectives of multiple U.S. space policies, including the 2020 National Space Policy and Space Policy Directives 1, 2, and 3. The MOU also builds upon existing collaborations, including between the FAA and NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which helped develop a framework for flying researchers from industry and academia on commercial suborbital flights, allowing them to propose to fly with their NASA-sponsored payloads for the first time.

 

NASA also is collaborating with the FAA on commercial suborbital spaceflight activities through the Commercial Crew Program’s Suborbital Crew (SubC) efforts to extend suborbital space transportation capabilities for NASA astronauts and other NASA personnel.

-end-

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DocM

Some interesting NASA commercial info in this Twitter thread.

 

There will be a new Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) board running the ISS National Laboratory, new rounds of Commercial Crew, Cargo and...Destinations (!) starting in the mid-2020's.

 

New capabilities, lower costs, phasing out ISS (hinting at multiple commercial space stations), developing free-flying space platforms, etc. 

 

Morgan Stanley estimates the "space economy" could grow to $1 trillion, while other analysts think they're underestimating it.

 

Thread (first post below, click to read)

 

 

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DocM

Glavkosmos to offer space tourism rides...

 

https://spacenews.com/glavkosmos-to-sell-seats-on-soyuz-missions/

 

Quote

 

Glavkosmos to sell seats on Soyuz missions

 

DOUGLAS, U.K. — Glavkosmos, the commercial arm of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has announced its intent to enter the space tourism market, selling a minimum of four Soyuz seats to commercial astronauts through 2023. 

 

Roscosmos has previously sold such seats through a long-standing relationship with American company Space Adventures. In December, Glavkosmos tweeted its plans to start selling seats, which a company spokesperson has since confirmed.

 

“We assume that each crewed Soyuz MS spacecraft intended solely for commercial spaceflight will have two seats for space tourists” with a professional astronaut occupying the third seat, Glavkosmos spokesman Evgenii Kolomeets told SpaceNews. “In 2022-2023, with a favorable combination of circumstances, we can count on four seats aboard the commercial spacecraft for space tourists.”

>

 

 

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DocM

The Michigan state legislature has budgeted  $500,000 for the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association, which is planning space launch centers in Oscoda and Marquette.

 

Also,

 

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/01/28/sault-ste-marie-chippewa-county-rocket-launch-command-site/4291399001/

 

Quote

 

Upper Peninsula's Chippewa County to host Michigan rocket launch command center

 

Chippewa County in the Upper Peninsula has been picked as the future location for a proposed command and control center for Michigan's effort to launch rockets into space.

 

The site is at Chippewa County International Airport, less than half an hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie. The airport was once home to the former Kincheloe Air Force Base, which closed in 1977.

 

The news, announced Thursday via Zoom, marks the third and final site selection for the Michigan Launch Initiative, a program aiming to send satellites into orbit in coming years. The effort is not guaranteed, but it has enjoyed support from both business and state government officials. State Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, on Thursday, noted during the presentation that "Michigan has your back as we move forward into this new frontier."

 

The command center, which, officials said, could employ 80 to 100 people, would be roughly midway between the two launch sites. The center would, among other things, help track the increasing number of manmade objects in space in order to avoid collisions.

 

A site near Marquette on the Lake Superior shoreline was selected in July to host the vertical launch site to join the horizontal launch location at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, a former Air Force base.

 

The target dates for beginning operations at the sites are June 2023 for the command center, August 2023 for Oscoda and August 2025 for Marquette.

>

 

 

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DocM

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's Vice President of Mission Assurance, is retiring. Off to annoy fish.

 

Taking over the reins will be former NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William "Bill"  Gerstenmaier.

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DocM
On 8/19/2020 at 17:54, DocM said:

Follow-up

 

Besides not wanting to put a $4 billion spacecraft in an industrial size mixer, SLS won't be available for Europa Clipper until 2025+ - but the spacecraft will be ready in 2024

 

https://spacenews.com/compatibility-issue-adds-new-wrinkle-to-europa-clipper-launch-vehicle-selection/

 

It's official: no SLS for Europa Clipper 

 

 

 

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DocM

It doesn't sound like a Star 48 kick stage is needed, which was previously in the mix. Wonder if the Merlin upgrades for Commercial Crew did the trick? 

 

https://spacenews.com/nasa-to-use-commercial-launch-vehicle-for-europa-clipper/

 

Quote

 

NASA to use commercial launch vehicle for Europa Clipper

>

“We now have clarity on the launch vehicle path and launch date,” Robert Pappalardo, project scientist for Europa Clipper at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said. That clarity came in the form of a Jan. 25 memo from NASA’s Planetary Missions Program Office to “immediately cease efforts to maintain SLS compatibility” and move forward with a commercial launch vehicle, or CLV, he said.

>

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch vehicle is the leading contender to launch Europa Clipper, and has been used in planning for alternatives to SLS. The fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill, though, requires NASA to consider all potential launch vehicles, including those not currently part of its NASA Launch Services 2 contract, through a “full and open competition.”

 

The announcement didn’t state when NASA would select a launch vehicle. At the OPAG meeting, Chodas said she expected NASA’s Launch Services Program, which will manage that procurement, to select a vehicle “in about a year or so.”

>

 

 

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DocM

SpaceX gets a $8,499,489.00 USAF Research Laboratory award,

 

"...to refine thermal protection system manufacturing technologies to enable low-cost, high volume production of next generation TPS."

 

Wondering if this is to help develop a TPS (thermal tiles) for Starship, the reason being DoD's high interest in it as a rapid Earth Point-2-Point military transport? Basically, hauling 80-100 tonnes of cargo 10,000 km in <30 min without a first stage booster, or further with one.

 

https://beta.sam.gov/opp/5cf429cfee974c0ca229abd9f134e1bf/view?keywords=afrl&sort=-modifiedDate&index=&is_active=true&page=1

 

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DocM

Fairing problem grounded Ariane 5, impacted Atlas 5

 

https://www.spaceintelreport.com/fairing-separation-issue-has-grounded-ariane-5-since-august-2020-also-affected-ulas-atlas-5/

 

Quote

 

FAIRING-SEPARATION ISSUE HAS GROUNDED ARIANE 5 SINCE AUGUST 2020, ALSO AFFECTED ULA’S ATLAS 5

 

PARIS — Excess vibration during fairing separation on two European Ariane 5 missions in 2020 forced a months-long inquiry that has grounded the vehicle since August, with similar consequences for the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5, which uses the same fairing technology, government and industry officials said.

 

With the help of a recent emergency cash infusion by the Swiss government, Ariane 5 and Atlas 5 fairing manufacturer Ruag Space, based in Switzerland, apparently has identified the root cause of the issue and begun implementing corrective measures.

>[paywall]

 

 

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DocM

New FAA space launch and re-entry rules 

 

PDF...

Quote

 

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — The United States is leading the way to a new era of commercial space transportation with a final rule that streamlines the licensing process for private sector launch and reentry operations.

 

“Innovation in commercial space transportation is increasing dramatically, and policy needs to keep up. This rule will help us to prepare for future U.S. leadership in commercial space transportation by facilitating the continued economic growth and innovation of the American aerospace industry and ensuring the highest level of public safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

 

The new rule took effect on March 21 and arose from a directive of the National Space Council to encourage American leadership in space commerce. The rule aims to support greater innovation, flexibility and efficiency in commercial space operations. It also seeks to keep pace with the dramatic increase in the $400 billion global space industry that is expected to generate revenues of $1.1 trillion or more by 2040.

 

The rule streamlines and modernizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial space launch and reentry licensing regulations by eliminating obsolete requirements, replacing most prescriptive requirements with performance-based criteria and reducing duplicative regulations.

 

It also establishes a single set of licensing and safety regulations for several types of commercial space operations and vehicles. For example, one license could support multiple launches and reentries at multiple locations—a game-changing innovation that will make this process more efficient.

 

“With the streamlined rule we can make sure launch vehicles aren’t tethered to the launch pad with red tape and at the same time protect public safety during commercial space operations,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

 

The number of FAA-licensed commercial space launches has dramatically accelerated from only one in 2011 to a record 39 in 2020—a 3800% increase in just ten years. For 2021, the FAA is forecasting 50 or more FAA-licensed launch and reentry operations.

 

The new rule will better fit today’s constantly evolving aerospace industry whose technological advancements are lowering the cost of launch operations and opening new markets for satellites, space tourism and potentially suborbital point-to-point regional and intercontinental travel.

 

Background

 

In addition to the rule, to meet the increasing demand for commercial space transportation services, the FAA is working with current active license  holders to authorize planned operations or modify current licenses. The agency is also talking with a number of new entrants interested in applying for licenses. As of now, 11 companies hold 23 FAA-issued launch or reentry licenses.

 

State and local governments are also looking to establish launch and reentry sites to provide additional operational capacity and serve as economic hubs.  In the U.S., there are presently 12 FAA-licensed spaceports, in addition to Federal government and private launch sites. 

 

Additionally, the FAA reorganized its Office of Commercial Space to meet the burgeoning private sector licensing demand and established the Office of Spaceports. The agency is also continuing to test and deploy new technologies to further enable the safe and efficient integration of commercial space operations with other types of air traffic in the National Airspace System.

 

An FAA license is required to conduct any commercial launch or reentry, the operation of any launch or reentry site by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, or by any individual or entity within the United States. 

 

Since 1989, the FAA has licensed or permitted more than 450 commercial space launches and reentries. During that time there have been no fatalities, serious injuries or significant property damage to members of the public.

 

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DocM

https://spacenews.com/space-force-to-create-one-stop-shop-for-launch-procurement-and-operations/

 

Quote

 

Space Force to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for launch procurement and operations

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force is consolidating oversight of space launch activities under a two-star general who will have broad responsibilities for the procurement of launch services and for the operations of the military’s launch ranges.

 

The Space Force plans to establish a Space Systems Command this summer in Los Angeles that will absorb the responsibilities of the Space and Missile Systems Center. The command will be led by a three-star general and a two-star deputy commander who will be in charge of launch activities. 

>

The current Space Force space launch wings are being renamed under the new plan. The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg will be Space Launch Delta 30. The 45th Space Wing at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, will be Space Launch Delta 45.

>

 

 

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Jim K

40 years ago today...

 

 

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      Thursday, April 1
      The first rocket that we could see launch on Thursday is Rocket Lab’s Electron. As part of its STP-27RM mission, Rocket Lab will launch an experimental payload for the U.S. Air Force. The Payload is a space weather instrument called Monolith and is part of the Space Test Program. It will demonstrate the ability of small satellites to support large aperture payloads. While the mission is eligible for launch on Thursday, it could launch later.

      Another mission that will take off from Thursday is the New Shepard NS-15. Blue Origin, who makes New Shepard, is the firm owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. It will be using a booster rocket called Tail 4 which itself comes equipped with an improved BE-3PM engine. The CC 2.0-2 RSS First Step capsule has been upgraded for astronauts who will also come aboard and then leave again before the rocket launch – this will prepare them for NS-16 which will be a crewed mission. You’ll be able to find a stream of the event here. As with the other launches so far, this mission is also marked with a No Earlier Than (NET) tag so it may happen after Thursday. Below is a video from the NS-14 mission:

      The final launch on Thursday will come from Roscosmos who is launching a Soyuz 2.1b with the 4th Resurs-P satellite. The Resurs-P series of satellites are Earth observation satellites that are used by several Russian governmental agencies including Russia’s meteorological agency. The launch was delayed from November 2019 and November 2020.

      Friday, April 2
      The final launch of the week will come from China. The Long March CZ-4C will carry the Gaofen 12-02 remote sensing satellite which will perform high-res Earth observation. The satellite has a sub-meter level resolution which is suited for urban planning, crop yield estimation, and disaster prevention. The mission is being launched for the China High-definition Earth Observation System (CHEOS).

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 5: Starship SN11 could launch sometime this week
      by Paul Hill



      Welcome to the fifth instalment of This Week in Rocket Launches, this week has a packed schedule thanks to a few launch delays and a possible Starship SN11 launch by SpaceX. Glavkosmos will attempt to launch the Korean CAS500 satellite, Rocket Lab could finally launch the BlackSky Global 7 satellite, SpaceX has several missions penciled in, OneWeb wants to launch several internet satellites, India and a Chinese firm are looking at launches too.

      The first launches of the week, on Monday, will be from Glavkosmos and possibly Rocket Lab. The Glavkosmos mission will take the Compact Advanced Satellite 500 (CAS500) into orbit along with Astroscale’s ELSA-d debris removal demonstration mission. The launch was scrubbed from last week but hopefully, it can get off the launch pad tomorrow. You can find a live stream on YouTube.

      Rocket Lab’s ‘They Go Up So Fast’ mission has been a possibility for several weeks now. The launch could take off early this week from New Zealand but it’s not definite. The mission consists of an Electron rocket launching a BlackSky Global satellite alongside several other satellites. The BlackSky satellite constellation is made up of 1-metre resolution Earth observation microsatellites that are useful for ground observation. If Rocket Lab’s mission goes ahead, you can find a live stream on its website.

      Wednesday is the earliest time we’ll see the launch of SpaceX’s Starship SN11, according to the Neowin forums. SpaceX wants to do a static fire test at the start of the week and if all goes according to plan, it can attempt a launch on Wednesday or Thursday. SpaceX was almost able to do a successful landing of its Starship SN10 rocket earlier this month but it ultimately exploded due to a fire. All of the SpaceX flights this week will be live-streamed and shared on the SpaceX website.

      On Wednesday, SpaceX will also be trying again with its Falcon 9 B5 rocket to launch a batch of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. This mission was mentioned in TWIRL 4 but was delayed. As the end goal, SpaceX wants to have 30,000 Starlink satellites in orbit around the Earth to beam internet connectivity down to those in areas that are hard to connect. The firm also has a separate Starlink mission to launch the day after.

      On Thursday, India will launch its EOS 3 satellite that is designed to provide continuous remote sensing observations over India from a geostationary orbit. It will be taken into space using India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which has received several modifications that are being used for the first time.

      Also on Thursday, China’s state-run ExPace will launch a Kuaizhou KZ-10 rocket with the Jilin Gaofen 2D satellite (Jilin 28). The 230kg satellite will be used to take full-colour images from a 535km-high operational orbit to complement other satellites that are already in orbit as part of the commercial Jilin 1 constellation.

      The final launch of the week will be a Soyuz 2.1b which will carry 36 OneWeb internet communication satellites. The satellites will go into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450km. OneWeb, which is now owned by the British government, announced plans earlier in the week to help deliver Wi-Fi to aeroplanes from its satellites; those being launched this week will contribute to connecting those planes to the net.

    • By zikalify
      NASA's SLS' core stage to undergo final Green Run test
      by Paul Hill



      NASA has announced that its Space Launch System (SLS), a rocket designed to send astronauts to the Moon, will undergo its final Green Run series test this week on Thursday. The space agency said that the two-hour testing window will open at 3 p.m. EDT on March 18 and plans to begin streaming the event 30 minutes before the test on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

      In this eighth and final Green Run test, engineers will power up all of the core stage systems and fire the rocket’s four RS-25 engines to simulate the stage’s operation during launch. The engines will burn 700,000 gallons of supercold cryogenic propellant and generate 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

      Two hours after the test, NASA will hold a briefing on NASA TV where it will be able to explain whether everything went smoothly and will answer media questions by phone. Once this test is complete, NASA will be assured that the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready for the Artemis missions to the Moon, marking a major milestone.

      The core stage of the rocket is a very important part of the rocket; it includes a liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank, four RS-25 engines, computers, electronics, and avionics, which NASA explains, acts as the brains of the SLS.

      The Artemis I mission, which will use the SLS rocket, is planned for November this year. It is an uncrewed test flight and will be the first to integrate the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and the Space Launch System. This will then pave the way for two planned Artemis missions and a further six proposed missions - all of which will be crewed.