Welcome to Version 5.04 of Rocket Report! Most of the news this week is heavy-lift rockets, or at least suggested heavy-load rockets. Also, there will be no newsletter next week as I’m going to take a little vacation with my family. But after that, I’ll be in the saddle for the rest of the summer and fall, promising to be packed with big-ticket rocket launches.
As always, we welcome reader posts, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy-load rockets, as well as a quick look ahead for the next three launches on the calendar.
Isar Aerospace will launch from French Guiana. Germany-based launch initiative announced Thursday It has announced that it will launch commercial and corporate launches from the European spaceport in French Guiana from 2024. Looking like a nice blow, Isar was selected by the French space agency CNES for the launch opportunity at the nearby Diamant launch complex. equator. Isar is also developing a spaceport in Andøya, Norway for the Spectrum small launch vehicle.
Competing with other small launchers … “By adding Kourou, we will further expand our global critical infrastructure network and gain greater flexibility for our customers,” said Josef Fleischmann, chief operating officer and co-founder of Isar Aerospace. “Creating greater launch and deployment capability is a key block to engaging the global market for satellite launches.” Isar will compete with companies such as Relativity Space, ABL Space Systems and Firefly for commercial loads in the 1-ton class. (Presented by Ken the Bin)
Firefly working towards second Alpha launch. Firefly Aerospace is preparing for the second launch of its Alpha rocket in late August or early September. Space News reports. “Our goal is within 45 to 60 days of launch,” Firefly’s interim CEO Peter Schumacher told the publication. “At this point, range availability is really pending.” The rocket itself is ready for flight, he said, aside from a wet suit rehearsal and a static fire test, which he says will be done within two weeks of launch.
Modeling the wreckage of a rocket … The company is awaiting a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, subject to approval of a new wreckage model for the rocket. The revised debris model came after the first Alpha rocket exploded in flight when the range activated the flight termination system. The wreckage of the rocket, made mainly of carbon composite materials, fell out of range, including nearby communities, but no damage was reported. (Presented by EllPeaTea and Ken the Bin)
Electron launch delayed due to charge issue. Rocket Lab’s next mission for the National Reconnaissance Office – the second of two back-to-back launches for the US spy satellite agency – has been delayed to complete a software update on the classified payload. Spaceflight Now reports. The mission, called NROL-199, was scheduled to launch from Rocket Lab’s spaceport in New Zealand on Friday and meant the company would launch two Electrons over a nine-day period.
Where will the NRO go? … Earlier, Rocket Lab launched mission NROL-162 on July 13. As soon as software updates are implemented, NRO and Rocket Lab will provide a new launch date for NROL-199. Payloads are classified as with most NRO satellites. They will operate in low Earth orbit, but target orbital altitude and inclination have not been disclosed. (Presented by Ken the Bin)
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