Rocket Report: Virgin Galactic is late again, the June target for the next SLS test

Tory Bruno shared a picture of a first-color tank of brightly colored Vulcan rockets this week on Twitter.
Zoom in / Tory Bruno shared a picture of a first-color tank of brightly colored Vulcan rockets this week on Twitter.

Tory Bruno

Welcome to Rocket Report Version 4.42! I’m sorry to say there will be no Rocket show next week as I travel to Washington, DC to attend the Ars Frontiers conference on Thursday. I will speak with former NASA Deputy Managing Director Lori Garver about commercial spaceflight and a panel on the space debris problem.

As always, we welcome reader submissions and if you do not want to miss an issue, sign up using the box below (the form will not appear in AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy missiles, as well as a quick look at the next three launches in the diary.

Rocket Lab gets an amplifier from the sky. For the first time on Monday night, the Rocket Lab attempted to catch the fall of the first stage of the Electron amplifier with a helicopter. And in short, he succeeded with this recovery in the air, reports Ars. As the rocket descended under its main parachute at about 10 meters per second, a drogue runner followed a 50-meter line. A Sikorsky S-92 helicopter monitored this landing rocket and also had a 50-meter line with a hook at its end.

Sounds like an easy solution … “It’s kind of like ghost Busters in a way, “said Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, in a press conference Monday night. “You want these two currents to intersect. “These two lines intersect and slide towards each other, and then there is a collision and capture.” So they launched the rocket, which was recovered at sea. Bin and EllPeaTea)

Angara 1.2 flies successfully. Last Friday, the Russian Angara 1.2 rocket launched a payload for the Russian aerospace forces on its operational flight. Previously, the Angara rocket conducted a sub-orbital test flight to verify that all systems were working, as well as three test flights of the A5 variant to demonstrate its ability to launch payloads into a geostationary orbit, according to NASASpaceflight.com. The mission was launched from the Plesetsk spaceport.

Small and large editions … While the Angara 1.2 can launch only 3,800 kg in low Earth orbit, the most capable version, the Angara A5, has carried out the most Angara missions to date. The Angara A5 uses four URM-1 belts, a larger second stage, and can choose to use a third stage based on shipping requirements. This is the first of three scheduled Angara launches in 2022, with one more scheduled for Roscosmos, Russia’s state space agency, and a commercial flight to South Korea. (submitted by EllPeaTea and Ken the Bin)

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Virgin Galactic is delaying the launch of its commercial service. In the financial results for the first quarter of 2022 published on Thursday, Virgin Galactic stated that it now plans to resume its flights VSS Unity spaceship in the fourth quarter of 2022 and start of commercial service in the first quarter of 2023. The company previously planned to start commercial flights before the end of this year. “Within a framework of escalating supply chain and work constraints, our teams are narrowing down most of these issues to minimize impact on schedules,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Vigin Galatic.

It is not a matter of demand … Virgin Galactic had a net loss of $ 93 million in the first quarter of this year, but said demand for its services was high and had “cash equivalents, limited cash and $ 1.22 billion in marketable securities” . The issue for Virgin Galactic is not demand, the issue is whether it can meet that demand with a vehicle that has so far had a very low flight rate compared to the company’s forecasts. It will now be at least a year before we begin to receive an answer to this question.

Canadian spaceship names a launch lease. A space port under development in Nova Scotia, Canada, this week named the first launch company to use the facility. Quebec-based Reaction Dynamics plans to launch the small hybrid rocket as early as 2024, the Toronto Star reports. “Canada’s first launch will include a Canadian launch site, a Canadian launch vehicle — Reaction Dynamics — and Canadian satellites,” said space port builder Stephen Matier of Maritime Launch Services.

There are some reservations … I should probably note that the Nova Scotia space port has not been built yet, and there is some local opposition to the project. It’s also the first time I’ve heard of Reaction Dynamics. And with absolutely no disrespect, the company’s founder, Bachar Elzein, seems to have started the company after working as an assistant researcher at the Polytechnique Montréal. And according to his LinkedIn page, the company’s “test boss” appears to have worked as a ski instructor for two years before joining the company. So 2024? Probably not. (submitted by JoeySIV-B)

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