Welcome to Edition 6.24 of the Rocket Report! This is the last edition of this newsletter until January 4th hey, space enthusiasts need a holiday break too! And given everything that is expected to happen in 2024 in the launch world, a little recharging seems like a good move. Stephen and I wish everyone happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year. Until then!
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form is not visible on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead to the next three launches on the calendar.
Ranking in the top 10 companies to launch in the US in 2023. Oops, we’ve done it again and published a list of the most successful commercial launch companies in the US. It’s no surprise that SpaceX is at the top of the list, but the finish is even more interesting, including a new company in the second position. I hope the list sparks debate, discussion, and appreciation for the challenge of operating a successful rocket company.
It’s a tough business … The article ends with this message, which I think is a fitting way to end the calendar year and start the holiday season: “As always, I remain in awe of all the talented engineers and entrepreneurs out there trying to create. Keep it up in the launch industry. It’s a tough and difficult business, full of problems. I salute your hard work and hope for your success.”
New Shepard finally flew again.With redesigned engine components, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifted off from West Texas and flew to the edge of space on Tuesday with a package of scientific research and technology demonstration experiments, Ars reports. It was the first flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket since September 12, 2022, when an engine failure destroyed the booster and caused an in-flight abort for the vehicle’s pressurized capsule during an uncrewed flying.
Does “soon'” mean soon? … It took 15 months for Blue Origin to return to flight with New Shepard, but Tuesday’s successful launch puts the company on a path to continuing human missions. So when will Blue Origin start flying people again? “After a thorough mission review today, we look forward to flying our next crewed flight soon,” said Erika Wagner, a longtime Blue Origin manager who co-hosted the webcast. of the airline on Tuesday. (submitted by EllPeaTea and Ken the Bin)
The electron successfully returned to flight. Rocket Lab successfully launched a Japanese radar imaging satellite on the first flight of its Electron rocket since the failure nearly three months ago, Space News reported. Electron departed from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 11:05 pm ET on December 14. The vehicle deployed its payload, the QPS-SAR-5 or Tsukuyomi-1 satellite, for the Japanese company iQPS , afterwards.
A record number of launches this year … The launch was the first for Electron since a failure on September 19 during the launch of another radar-imaging satellite for Capella Space. On that mission, the first stage performed as expected, but the second stage’s engine appeared to shut down shortly after burnout, preventing it from reaching orbit. The launch was the 10th flight of the Electron this year, including a launch of a suborbital version of the Electron called HASTE. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Shetland has been approved for UK launch. The SaxaVord Spaceport on the small island of Unst has been given permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to begin orbital launches in 2024, the BBC reports. It is the first fully licensed spaceport in Western Europe capable of launching vertically into orbit. It allows up to 30 launches a year that can be used to carry satellites and other cargo into space.
Launching this summer? … The site, which is Scotland’s first spaceport, has a number of launch operators around the world who are currently developing rockets. German rocket company HyImpulse is expected to attempt a sub-orbital launch in August. Full orbital launches are expected to take place at SaxaVord from 2025. Cornwall Spaceport is the UK’s first licensed spaceport; however, its rockets are launched horizontally and carried by an aircraft. (submitted by gizmo23 and Ken the Bin)
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Image Source : arstechnica.com