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Home / Science / Rocket report: SpaceX reaches a century of history, voting for Atlas V on election day

Rocket report: SpaceX reaches a century of history, voting for Atlas V on election day

Photo of the rocket after liftoff on a cloudy day.
enlarge / This week, the “Focus” mission began.

Welcome to version 3.22 of the Rocket Report! After a series of recent hardships, Cape Town began back-to-back government launches in the following week, one of which was the United Launch Alliance and the other was SpaceX. Cross fingers (and toes).

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.

Rocket Lab’s 15th mission. Rocket Lab successfully completed the 15th electronic mission and deployed an Earth imaging satellite for Planet and Spaceflight Inc. customer Canon Electronics. The “In Focus” mission was launched at 21:21 UTC Wednesday at Rocket Lab Launch Site 1, Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand.

So much electronics …This mission (see video) is the fifth launch of Rocket Lab in this calendar year, making Electron the second-most-flying US launch vehicle in 2020 after the Falcon 9 rocket. The company stated that its next mission is planned to be carried out from Launch Complex 1 in the next few weeks. (Submitted by Ken the Bin and platykurtic)

Concerns about debris from the Pacific Viking Orbit. The Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating Virgin Orbit’s proposal to launch the LauncherOne rocket from Guam (Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific of the United States). The application (up to 10 launches in a year, no more than 25 launches from 2021 to 2025) includes a draft environmental assessment.

Rocket falls into the ocean …As part of the startup process, Cosmic girl The plane will fly east of Guam and then release a two-stage rocket. The FAA has determined along this flight path that the falling debris may adversely affect endangered marine mammals, turtles and fish. The environmental assessment pointed out: “The impact of debris hitting marine mammals or sea turtles may cause personal injury or death.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accepts public comments on this assessment until it was reported by the Pacific Daily on November 16.

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Firefly bets on robots to make rockets. On Thursday, the Texas-based rocket company announced “a major commitment” to increase its production capacity by converting its production of large parts from Ingersoll machine tools to automatic fiber placement systems starting next year. The company said that once fully put into use, the AFP function can produce a fully composite Alpha rocket fuselage in just 14 days.

Shine on composite materials … “Firefly has chosen to use 21st century materials and manufacturing processes in our spacecraft and rocket designs from the beginning. Metal is the most popular aerospace material in the last century; composite materials that are stronger and lighter than metal are preferred The Firefly Alpha is the world’s largest all-carbon fiber liquid fuel rocket,” said Tom Markusic, CEO of Firefly. The company will begin installing the manufacturing system in May next year. (Submitted by Ken the Bin)

SpaceX details the “paint” problem of the new Falcon 9 booster. NASA and SpaceX confirmed on Wednesday that their goal is to launch the “Crew 1” space shuttle on November 14, which will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA was originally scheduled to launch on Halloween, but due to engine problems, the Falcon 9 rocket’s attempt to launch at T-2 seconds on October 2 was suspended, and the launch was postponed because it carried the US Air Force GPS III satellite.

“You must be vigilant” …In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann explained the occurrence of the October 2 launch abort and the work done to resolve the issue. In short, some masking paint applied before the anodizing process was not properly removed before the flight. For a longer and more complete story, see this article on Ars Technica.

Space forces don’t care about a lot of scrub. The losing streak of the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX launch missions frustrated rocket company executives and space fans. However, the launch manager of the space force was not discouraged by this. In fact, scrubbing is evidence that the system is functioning properly, Colonel Douglas Pentecosts said in a report in Space News.

Range safety, safety first … “We think this is a success,” said Pentecost, deputy director of the launch enterprise of the Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The Pentecostal gave a speech at the Virtual Space Industry Conference organized by AFCEA, Defense Industry Association and Air Force Association. Pentecost said: “Falcon 9 and Delta 4 aircraft stopped a few seconds after launch? This is a good thing.” “We learned a lot; we are working with ULA and SpaceX to understand what happened.” (Submitted by Ken the Bin)

Atlas V is about to launch election day. According to “Space Flight Now”, on Monday, the United Launch Alliance team installed a top-secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Agency on an Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral, in preparation for after sunset on November 3. Take off. The launch, code-named NROL-101, will be the first time the Atlas 5 rocket powered by Northrop Grumman’s new belt-type solid rocket booster will replace the Aerojet Rocketdyne’s solid fuel engine.

Exchange with Delta …As ULA continues to resolve the company’s launch pad infrastructure issues at other launch sites at Cape Canaveral, the disembarkation of Atlas 5 flight from Block 41 will continue. Since late August, these issues have delayed the flight of the Delta 4 heavy rocket using another NRO spy satellite, and caused ULA to swap its mission order so that the next Atlas 5 flight takes place first. (Submitted by Ken the Bin)

SpaceX reaches a century milestone. On Saturday, SpaceX took on the Starlink mission and successfully carried out the 100th flight. This milestone dates back to September 28, 2008, and is also the company’s fourth launch attempt for the company’s Falcon 1 rocket.

Fly again …To commemorate this moment, the company released an excerpt video of each of the 100 tasks, which is really cool. SpaceX also pointed out that it has recovered 63 first phases of the launch and flew the booster another 45 times. (Submitted by Ken the Bin)

Axiom is about to complete the release of private ISS. According to “Space News”, Axiom Space hopes to complete its first commercial flight mission to the International Space Station soon, which is scheduled for the second half of 2021. Michael Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space, said that his company has queued up for the first mission, a 10-day space flight, to fly to the space station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that was carried in the fourth quarter of 2021.

will complete He said: “We have identified all customers and we are about to complete their contracts.” The company previously announced that it has signed a flight contract with SpaceX, and the mission contract with NASA is “almost complete.” He said: “We are cautiously optimistic that by the end of October, we will be ready to launch products in the fourth quarter of 2021.” For launch companies such as SpaceX, finding private customers for orbital space tourism will be The real gospel. (Submitted by Joey SiVB, platykurtic and JohnCarter17)

BE-4 rocket engine put into production. Blue Origin seems to have solved some of the development problems related to the turbo pump in its powerful BE-4 rocket engine. Tory Bruno, chief executive of the United Launch Alliance, said on Friday that the problem has been “solved” and that the full-size, flight-configurable BE-4 engine is now accumulating a lot of time on the test bed.

Something beyond technology Bruno’s company ULA is buying BE-4 engines to provide thrust for the first phase of its upcoming Vulcan-Centaur rocket. Although ULA is still waiting for the delivery of the first BE-4, this booster may make its debut next year. Bruno said that the focus of “Blue Origin” is shifting from engine development to increasing production. He said in an interview last Friday: “In the development plan, that is always a good time, because it means you have important technical knowledge.” Space show.

Ariana 6 rocket postponed to 2022. European Space Agency officials said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday that the first flight of the Ariane 6 rocket will enter the second quarter of 2022. The delay was attributed to the need to resolve the final technical difficulties, as well as work interruptions due to the COVID-19 lockout of the rocket assembly in Europe and the launch site in French Guiana. The European Space Agency will also require member states to provide another 230 million euros to fund the development of the rocket.

Responding to SpaceX …For most of the past decade, the Ariane 6 aircraft was Europe’s response to the rise of SpaceX and its low-cost Falcon 9 rocket. Although the rocket is not reusable, it is designed to be simpler, more efficient, and able to deliver payloads at a lower cost. The launch was originally scheduled for 2020, but earlier this year, the European Space Agency announced that it would postpone it to the second half of 2021. ESA Space Transportation Director Daniel Neuenschwander also said that the debut of the Vega C rocket will be postponed to June. 2021.

SLS Green Run test delayed again. As of the beginning of this month, NASA and Boeing are aiming for the SLS Green Run test in Mississippi in mid-November. But it is now closed. NASA said in a blog update that it now expects the next new date after Hurricane Zeta next week and evaluates “data from recent tests to ensure the team is ready”.

Saw something they didn’t like Chris Bergin reported on Twitter that the test will be “postponed to December” due to technical issues. The Boeing and NASA teams seem to have discovered some data from the sixth of the eight tests, which have been completed. They want to review the findings before the wet clothes rehearsal and finally conduct a heat test on the large core stage. This mistake makes it almost certain that the SLS rocket will not be launched for the first time in 2021. (Submitted by Ken the Bin)

Will the interstellar spacecraft be used to collect orbital debris? SpaceX can use its interstellar spacecraft to remove space debris in Earth’s orbit, and the promotional purpose of the program is to transport people and cargo to the moon and Mars. As reported by Spaceflight Now, President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell (Gwynne Shotwell) said in an online discussion on October 22: “A spaceship is an extraordinary new aircraft function.

Trash in the suitcase In an interview with Patrick Lucas Austin, a technical columnist for Time magazine, Shotwell said: “It will not only reduce the cost of entering space, but it will also transport people from Earth to Mars. “But it also has the ability to carry cargo and crew at the same time, so we may be able to use the interstellar spacecraft to go to some of the dead rocket bodies, of course, other people’s rockets, which are basically extracted from space. Rubbish.” If SpaceX can fly, then Starship will undoubtedly change the rules of the game. (Submitted by platykurtic and Ken the Bin)

The next three launches

November 3: Atlas V | NROL-101 Confidential Mission | Cape Canaveral, Florida. 22:58 UTC

November 4: Falcon 9 | GPS III-04 | Cape Canaveral, Florida. 23:28 UTC

November 6: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle | RISAT-2BR2 Mission | Satish Dhawan Space Center | 09:45 UTC

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