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Home / Science / Rocket report: SpaceX prepares for super heavy, Russia tests new engine

Rocket report: SpaceX prepares for super heavy, Russia tests new engine

Photo of SN11 in flight.
enlarge / SN11 will approach its highest point near SpaceX’s South Texas launch site on March 30, 2021.

Welcome to version 3.39 of the Rocket Report! This week, we will introduce another explosive “Starship”

; and two stories from “Rhapsody Underground”-“Count as Two”. In the end, one of the most promising spaceports in Scotland encountered very serious obstacles.

As always, we welcome readers to submit articles, if you don’t want to miss any questions, please use the box below to subscribe (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled sites). Each report will include information about medium, small and heavy rockets, as well as a quick outlook for the next three launches on the calendar.

Virgin Galactic showed off its latest space plane. On Tuesday, Virgin Galactic announced the newest model VSS in its fleet Imagine.This is the first in the spacecraft “SpaceShip III” series, and it represents an upgrade to the current VSS Unite The vehicle being tested by Virgin Galactic. According to Virgin Galactic, the new car has been optimized to limit the weight of its structure and thus its overall weight. The company expects that performance improvements will make VSS Imagine Carrying six passengers in a short suborbital flight, and VSS Unite Only four customers can be accommodated in its main cabin.

An important step that may be taken For Virgin Galactic, there is still a very serious question, that is, whether it will reach the operating rhythm of dozens of flights a year, let alone hundreds of flights (VSS Unite Has been in space twice, the most recent one was in February 2019). The new announcement shows that the company is at least moving toward a rhythm that will enable many people on Earth to experience the “overview effect” when seeing the entire planet from space, Ars explained. (Submitted by Bin Bin)

Launcher opens Southern California factory. According to SpaceNews reports, the launcher, a small rocket company, has developed nationwide and is beginning to develop rockets. The company was originally located in New York City and will now occupy the 24,000-square-foot building it leased in Hawthorne, California, just a few blocks from the huge SpaceX headquarters.

from childhood …The building will be the home of the company’s development of the electronic-sized car transmitter light, with the goal of starting a test launch in 2024 and putting it into commercial service in 2026. For the test flight, it must be large enough. “Launcher founder Max Haot said of its new facility. “In the end, it will become cramped. “(Submitted by Bin Bin)

The easiest way to keep up with Eric Berger’s space coverage is to sign up for his newsletter, and we will collect his stories in your inbox.

Scottish spaceport encounters major obstacles. The Scottish Historical Environment Agency rejected an application to develop a space port on Unst (the northernmost point of the Shetland Islands in Scotland). The public agency said the current plan will have “extensive” impact on the former Skaw radar station, so much so that it will no longer be regarded as a station of national importance.

Not ABL launched from there …The historical agency said it was a “well-preserved military complex with a history dating back to the 1940s” and was used to warn the authorities of aircraft observed in the transmission area of ​​the radar. Frank Strang, chief executive of the Shetland Islands Space Center, said the company would “strongly oppose” the refusal. Given that Lockheed Martin and ABL Space plan to launch from the facility, this is a clear setback.

Rocket Craftsman changed its name to Vaya Space. Company President Rob Fabian told UPI that Rocket Crafters, a Florida rocket company, has changed its name to Vaya Space and plans to launch a new type of rocket that is larger than its pursuit, now named Dauntless. Fabian said that the “Fearless” program will weigh about 1 metric ton into low Earth orbit. This is more than twice the Intrepid rocket that the company gave up.

company spirit Fabian told UPI in an interview: “We believe that competence is where today’s competitive market lies.” “We chose the name Dauntless because we believe it embodies the spirit of the company.” Last year, the company had about twenty employees, and With $10 million raised, we are skeptical that Vaya Space will soon be operational anywhere. (Submitted by Bin Bin)

Australia grants launch permits to civilian facilities. Federal Minister of Industry Karen Andrews announced that South Australian company Southern Launch will be able to launch suborbital satellites from its Koonibba test range. The facility is located at the westernmost point of South Australia. Lloyd Damp, chief executive officer of South Launch, told the Guardian that the company intends to start the launch before the end of 2021.

Collaborate with local communities … Damp said that without the support and participation of the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Company, it would be impossible to obtain permits and continue operations of the facility. “It is important to work with Couniba to understand how we use the land.” (Submitted by dbayly)

Gilmour Space signs launch agreement. Gilmour Space Technologies, another Australian rocket company, said it has reached an agreement to launch six Fleet Space Centauri nanosatellites in 2023. The Queensland company said the satellites will be launched on its Eris rocket. Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said in an email press release: “This launch will include Australian-made payloads on Australian-made rockets. , Satellites made in Australia.

Targeting 2022 orbit … Gilmour is developing a three-stage Eris vehicle that can send 305 kg of heavy objects into low Earth orbit. The first stage is powered by four hybrid rocket engines. The car will be activated via a mobile system, and is scheduled for its first test flight next year.

NASA confirms the launch date of the Crew-2 mission. After conducting a series of latest reviews of the second crew rotation mission for American astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft, NASA and SpaceX confirmed that they will continue to work on launching the Crew-2 mission to international space April 22, United States Stations before 6:11 AM Eastern Time (UTC 10:11 UTC).

Human recycling rocket …To perform this mission, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur were launched on the Falcon 9 rocket previously flown for the first time. They will serve as spacecraft commanders and pilots, respectively. Japanese Space Agency astronaut Hoshihiko Hoshihiko and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join as mission experts. (Submitted by Bin Bin)

Russia is testing the RD-171MV engine. Roscosmos said at the end of March that the advanced LOX kerosene engine had completed 8 test fires. The Russian Aerospace Corporation said that the test cycle lasted for three months and successfully confirmed the operability of the engine.

Replace protons …Now, the RD-171MV engine will be delivered to the Progress Rocket and Space Center, where it will finally undergo integration testing with the first phase of the Soyuz-5 rocket. This rocket has a low-Earth orbit capability of 18 metric tons and is considered an alternative to Proton vehicles and may make its debut in 2023. (Submitted by ElPeaTea)

Is it an alien?No, just the superior of Falcon 9. About a month ago, the Falcon 9 rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying a payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit. This is the first of four such missions conducted by SpaceX in March. The entire mission is nominal, except for the second stage of the rocket. Ars reported that there was not enough propellant to ignite the Merlin engine and complete combustion after launch.

Look at the sky …Therefore, the propellant is discharged into space, and the second stage is set to re-enter the atmosphere more uncontrollably. On the last Thursday night three weeks after launch, the second phase re-entered the thicker part of the Earth’s atmosphere and did so in densely populated areas, providing some spectacular views of Portland and Washington State. Videos shared on various social media networks indicate that it appears to be an alien invasion.

During the test, SpaceX lost another “starship”. Despite the fog on the launch site in southern Texas, SpaceX let the prototype of the SN11 interstellar spacecraft fly at 8 AM local time on Tuesday. The on-board camera showed that the vehicle could rise up to about 10 kilometers in nominal terms and shut down its three Raptor rocket engines in turn. As the vehicle ascended, it cleared the blue sky from the low cloud deck. Ars reported that the interstellar spacecraft began to return to Earth after circling.

Engine 2, where are you? …At 5 minutes and 47 seconds of flight, one of Starship’s three Raptor engines started to ignite, began the final landing procedure, and then cut off the camera in the engine compartment during a SpaceX web broadcast. At least in terms of real-time video images, lost contact with the vehicle. Soon thereafter, debris from the starship spacecraft began to descend at the launch site, and a series of small explosions were reported. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, said that a “significant incident” occurred during the landing after Engine 2 re-landed. The company is now investigating, clearing the area, and preparing to put SN15 on the launch site.

NASA begins to assemble Artemis II rocket. Boeing is moving parts of the second space launch system to begin assembling the front or upper part of the rocket core for the Artemis II Moon program. NASA said that in late March, the storage tank was transferred to the vertical assembly area of ​​NASA’s Michod assembly plant in New Orleans, USA, where the core station was manufactured.

Years in advance …The internal flight hardware of the tank is part of the upper part of the core stage. It will power Artemis II, the second flight of the deep space rocket and the first manned mission to the moon of NASA Artemis program Mission (the mission will fly four astronauts) around the moon but not landing there). It is not yet clear when the mission will start, depending on the completion of Artemis I’s flight next year and the development of ground system equipment at the Kennedy Space Center. We guess that its launch will not be earlier than the second half of 2023. (Submitted by Tfargo04 and Ken the Bin)

Super heavy booster is getting closer and closer to flight. In the past few months, as SpaceX has gradually advanced the development of its “Starship” rockets, careful observers have been wondering what the development direction of the first phase of the launch system (ie, “super heavy”) is. Thanks to the contemplation of SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Twitter, we now have some answers to this titanic acid booster.

Next stop, detour? Musk said the company has completed the construction of Booster or BN1 at its South Texas plant. This large vehicle is essentially a “pathfinder” in the manufacturing process and will now be scrapped. He added that the company has already started assembling BN2, and the goal is to install it on the launch pad by the end of April and equip it with some engines (four may be started). “If you are lucky, it may even have orbital capabilities,” Musk added.

Blue Origin further expands its footprint in Florida. The rocket company, founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, plans to expand its Merritt Island manufacturing park by 70 acres according to a plan submitted to the state government on March 26. The project is marked as “Southern Campus Phase Two” and it will rise to the south. According to a report in Orlando Business Magazine, the Blue Origin had previously expanded its spacecraft production base by 90 acres.

Well, of course they are good at building rocket buildings This new expansion will equip Blue Origin in Kent, Washington with new manufacturing and processing facilities to support its mission to build rockets and spacecraft that can take humans and materials out of Earth orbit. This may lead to further expansion of the company’s workforce. In fact, Blue Origin lists 27 “space coast” jobs on its website. These positions include engineers and project managers. The construction schedule is unknown.

The next three launches

April 7: Falcon 9 | Starlink-23 Internet Satellite | Cape Canaveral, Florida | 16:34 UTC

April 9: Soyuz | Soyuz MS-18 crew mission | Baikonur, Kazakhstan | 07:42 UTC

April 18: GSLV | GISAT 1 Earth Imaging Satellite | Satish Dhawan Space Center, India | To be determined

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