Friday , September 24 2021

Rocket Report: Kazakhstan takes SpaceX, SLS cost savings, Minuteman test

The Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Enlarge / The Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Welcome to 1.25 Edition of the Rocket Report! There is some very interesting news from Russia this week, with the potential for a revival of the Sea Launch platform, concerns about careless work in Russian aerospace companies, and Kazakhstan opting for the launch of Falcon 9.

As always, we accept reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss a problem, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on the version of the site that supports AMP). Each report will include information about small, medium and heavy rockets, as well as a quick look forward to the next three launches on the calendar.

The Stratolaunch test turned on the PGA pre-burner. For the first time, on November 2, the company fired a pre-burner for its PGA engine at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, Space News reported. The pre-burner functions as smaller than two combustion chambers in a multilevel combustion engine. "This is the first step in proving the performance and design of a highly efficient PGA engine," Jeff Thornburg, vice president of propulsion at Stratolaunch, said.

Still targeting flight 2022 … Earlier this year the company revealed its plans for the engine, which uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel and has a boost of 200,000 lbf, to drive air-launched rocket families. The initial "Medium Launch Vehicle" will be able to put 3,400 kilograms into low Earth orbit, with the first launch projected to 2022. (submitted by BH and Unrulycow)

DARPA moves forward with responsive launch competition. DARPA has identified eight sites in the United States that are planned to be used for commercial launch competitions, a choice that addresses one of the main problems of potential competitors, according to Space News. This competition requires companies to conduct two launches from two weeks apart, with launch locations and special payloads for each launch given in a short time.

Options from Alaska to Florida … The launch site includes ordinary suspects, as well as a relatively new location such as Naval Field on San Nicolas Island, off the coast of California. DARPA also announced on November 6 that 18 teams had passed the first stage in the competition, the pre-qualification stage. (Posted by Ken the Bin)

A proposed Azores spaceport seems to be popular. A concept of a space port on the southernmost island in the Azores, Santa Maria, received 14 official proposals from the international space consortium, reports the Portuguese news website, Expresso. The contract for site development can be left in 2019, with the first launch scheduled temporarily for 2021.

Diversity of interests … Among those reportedly interested are heavyweight industries such as ArianeGroup and Roscosmos, as well as several US commercial space companies that are developing such as the Sierra Nevada Corporation and Virgin Orbit. The Portuguese government only expected four respondents. (submitted by Nuno Pereira)

Russian company S7 Space is interested in rockets that can be reused. S7 Space plans to modernize the launch of the Sea launch launch complex for rocket launches that can be reused from it, the CEO of the Company Sergei Sopov told TASS. Developed 20 years ago, equipment on command ships and launch platforms has become obsolete, said the chief executive.

Must be able to be used again … Space S7 is considering several ways to restore the first stage of the rocket that can be reused after launch. "On the list of possible options we have a hypersonic parachute that is able to withstand re-entry heat, or special wings. We will make our minds during the design phase as a result of more accurate calculations and research," he said A private company does not have the opportunity to survive in a market without rockets that can be reused, Sopov told the Russian news agency. (sent by Unrulycow)

The Air Force tested the Minuteman III missile. The weapon, with an artificial warhead, exploded from its underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:01 noon. Tuesday. For trials, the military is trying to track the imitation re-entry vehicle as it travels to the designated target site. "Even though vehicles re-reach the intended target, test data and analysis cannot be released to the public," Joe Thomas, spokesman for the Louisiana-based Global Strike Command, told Noozhawk.

There is no further detail … The military will not provide further details about this test. The Air Force conducts about four Minuteman III missile tests every year from Vandenberg to gather information about the accuracy and reliability of the weapon system. The last test, on July 31, ended prematurely with Vandenberg's personnel sending self-destructive orders because of some unknown anomalies seen during the flight.

ConsenSys acquires Planet Resources. A blockchain company named ConsenSys, Inc. has acquired the pioneering Planetary Resources space company. It is said that there is a plan to put blockchain technology in space, but we don't really understand it.

So what is the relevance of the launch? … You may have noticed that there are many rocket companies out there with very ambitious plans to change space. Of course, returning to investors is closer to the launch business than in asteroid mining. But the failure of Planet Resources still functions as a warning story. (sent by Alex Altair)

Kazakhstan chose SpaceX on a Russian rocket for launch. When Kazakhstan wanted to get a small scientific satellite named KazSaySat and a technology satellite named KazistiSat into space, the country did not choose Russian rockets. Instead, he chose the US-based launch company SpaceX to reach orbit.

Decisions are made based on price … "The reason for using Falcon 9 for this launch is that it will be cheaper," said the press secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry, Asset Nurkenov, said. The satellite will fly on Rideshare SpaceX's SSO-A mission scheduled for November. This disclosure is well-known as Russia's main space port, Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

SpaceX trains helicopter assisted landings. In the unlikely event of an astronaut medical emergency, SpaceX has equipped its recovery vessel, GO Searcher, with medical care facilities and a helipad in the middle of the ship. Recently the company completed helicopter landings and loading training patients on board, practicing how helicopters would take astronauts and fly them to the nearest hospital.

More precisely … In a normal scenario, Crew Dragon will fall from the east coast of Florida. GO Searcher equipped with a crane to lift the capsule out of the water and to the main deck of the ship. NASA and doctor SpaceX will work together to evaluate the crew on board. From there, GO Searcher will head for Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the SpaceX team will bring astronauts to the nearest airport for transportation back to Houston. (Posted by Ken the Bin)

Rogozin is not happy with "dirty" aerospace facilities. The Kommersant newspaper obtained a copy of the instructions issued by Rogozin to the company leaders and facilities serving Roscosmos. The purpose of the letter, the newspaper reported, was to help companies eradicate "poor manufacturing culture and negligent staff attitudes towards their work."

Shabby working area … "The reason has not been cleaned for years – in many places there is construction waste and roads are torn," said the letter, according to the translation at Ars. "Employees at the company are accustomed to such normal conditions, and this creates poor manufacturing culture habits and careless attitude towards work." This letter follows a high profile problem with the last two crew missions launched by Roscosmos, MS-10 and MS-11.

Northrop's eyes are in synergy between Omega and SLS. After Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems received $ 792 million in federal funds from the Air Force to continue the development of their Omega launch family, work will begin in earnest at the Kennedy Space Center in terms of the infrastructure needed, piled up and launched hardware and needs, NASASpaceflight .com report.

Share inventory … By producing a solid-rocket booster booster for Space Launcher Rockets, and for Omega rockets, Northrop says both launchers will save money. "We see Omega and SLS as very synergistic, and I think NASA is starting to see that too," Mike Laidley, Vice President of the Space Launch Program for Northrop. "They began to see the benefits of Omega which came along with SLS and money that could be saved at SLS." It should be noted that we have not seen concrete evidence of cost savings for the SLS program. (Posted by BH and Ken the Bin)

SpaceX intends to modify the upper stage of Falcon 9 for the BFR test. In early June next year, SpaceX will try the Falcon 9 version of orbital flight that can be reused to test technology for the company's next generation launch vehicle. Space News summarizes the proposal, which was discussed by Elon Musk on Twitter.

Some questions remain … The second stage will not land by propulsion. "I think we have a handle on landing landings," Musk later, reiterating that the company was building a "dev BFR ship" intended to test the landing at the company's South Texas space port. It is not clear whether this will be a one-time test, or an operational stage to deliver cargo on Falcon 9. Rockets (shipped by Unrulycow)

The next three launches

November 11: Electrons | It's Business Time | Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand | 03:00 UTC

November 14: GSLV Mk III | GSAT-29 | Sriharikota, Republic of India | 11:38 UTC

November 15: Antares 230 | S.S. John Young Cygnus | Wallops Island, Virginia | 9:49 UTC

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