Successful Static Test of German/Brazilian S50 Rocket Engine with DLR Participation

S50 solid rocket motor during static burn test in Brazil. (Credit: ©DCTA/IAE)
  • Brazil is working together with DLR on the development of rocket motors and subsystems.
  • The S50 solid rocket motor will form the first two stages of the Brazilian VLM-1 launcher and the first stage of the European VS-50 sounding rocket.
  • The first successful static burn test of an S50 solid rocket engine was carried out in Brazil on October 1, 2021.

SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil (DLR PR) — On October 1, 2021, an S50 solid rocket motor successfully passed a static burn test on the Usina Coronel Abner (UCA) premises in São José dos Campos in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. In the future, these solid-fuel motors will power the first two stages of the new Brazilian VLM-1 launcher for microsatellites. The test was conducted by a technical team from the Brazilian Aerospace Institute (IAE) on behalf of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and the Brazilian Ministry of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA). As part of the long-term cooperation between Brazil and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the now tried and tested rocket motor is being used in a new sounding rocket for Europe.

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Skyrora Signs Decade-long, Multi-launch Deal with Shetland Spaceport

Skyrora XL lifts off the launch pad. (Credit: Skyrora)

EDINBURGH, 12th October 2021 (Skyrora PR) — British rocket company Skyrora has agreed a multi-launch deal with the SaxaVord spaceport on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands, as it moves closer to launching its XL rocket in 2022. This is the first agreement Skyrora has made with a Scottish Spaceport. If successful, this could be the first rocket to go to space from the UK. The multi-launch agreement with SaxaVord will run for the next decade, giving Skyrora the ability to build towards their target of 16 launches a year by 2030. 

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Environment Engineer Says Assessment of SpaceX Boca Chica Expansion is Deceptive, Incomplete and Illegal

Starhopper aborts a hop attempt at Boca Chica. (Credit: SpaceX webcast screen shot)
  • Assessment authors accused of submitting false emissions numbers
  • Report leaves out entire structures and their environmental impacts
  • FAA accused of illegally fast tracking approval using less rigorous environmental assessment than required by law

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

An environmental engineer has raised serious questions about the completeness and appropriateness of a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) that covers SpaceX’s major expansion of its Starbase rocket launch and test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

According to a 12-part series on the blog ESG Hound, the assessment that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released for public comment last month violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to evaluate all of the impact of the project, which sits amidst environmentally sensitive saltwater wetlands.

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Honda Introduces Initiatives in Space, Electric VTOL Aircraft & Avatar Robots

Lunar avatar robot (Credit: Honda Motors)

Taking on Challenges in New Areas while Leveraging Its Core Technologies

TOKYO, September 30, 2021 (Honda Motor Co. PR) — Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today introduced the technology development direction the company is currently pursuing for the challenges Honda is taking on in new areas while leveraging its core technologies. This direction leads to the fulfillment of Honda’s 2030 Vision of serving people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life’s potential.”

These new areas include a new challenge in the field of outer space, an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, and an avatar robot with a goal to expand the range of human ability.

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Space System Command’s Launch Enterprise Awards Four Prototype Agreements

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SSC PR) — Space Systems Command (SSC) is partnering with industry on prototype projects to invest in next-generation rocket engine testing and upper stage resiliency enhancements.

SSC’s Launch Enterprise today awarded FY21 prototype projects for Raptor Rapid Throttling and Restart Testing; Liquid Methane Specification Development and Testing; and Combustion Stability Analysis and Testing to SpaceX for $14.47 million, for Uplink Command and Control for Centaur V to United Launch Alliance for $24.35 million, for Upper Stage Development for Neutron to Rocket Lab for $24.35 million, and for Cryogenic Fluid Management for Glenn Stage 2 to Blue Origin for $24.35 million, under the National Security Space Launch program using the Space Development Corps’ Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC).

Prototype projects for orbital transfer and maneuver are anticipated for award in early FY22, pending congressional approval of the FY22 budget request;

Draft Environmental Assessment Recommends Starship/Super Heavy Launches From Boca Chica

Super Heavy/Starship system in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

The draft document, available for download as a PDF here, says the FAA’s proposed action “is to issue one or more experimental permits and/or a vehicle operator license to SpaceX that would allow SpaceX to launch, which can include landing, Starship/Super Heavy. SpaceX’s goal is to use Starship/Super Heavy for low Earth orbit, sun-synchronous orbit, geostationary transfer orbit, and interplanetary missions for cargo and humans.”

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Agnikul Cosmos Signs MOU to Use ISRO Facilities to Develop Launch Vehicle

Agnibaan small-satellite launcher (Credit: Agnikul Cosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Indian startup Agnikul Cosmos signed a framework memorandum of understanding (MOU) with India’s Department of Space on Friday for access to ISRO facilities and expertise for the development of its two-stage small-satellite Agnibaan launch vehicle.

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DLR to Cooperate with Spanish Startup Pangea Aerospace on Developing Aerospike Engine

European research and technology test bench P8. (Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0))
  • DLR supports the increasing demand for engine tests for new, innovative propulsion technologies in space travel.
  • DLR and the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace agree on a collaboration. The focus is on tests with a technology demonstrator of an additively manufactured aerospike engine from October 2021.
  • At the Lampoldshausen site, DLR offers a test infrastructure that is unique in Europe for space propulsion systems of all sizes and types.

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (DLR PR) — In order to ensure Europe’s independent and competitive access to space, the Federal Government is also relying on efficient start-ups. With their ideas and visions, they can accelerate the development of new technologies in the carrier market. Against this background, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at the Lampoldshausen site has signed a contract with the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace in the summer of 2021.

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D-Orbit Signs Agreement With HyImpulse Technologies for joint EU-based Launch and Deployment Mission

SL1 launch vehicle (Credit: Hyimpulse Technologies)

The scope of the contract, which leverages HyImpulse’s SL1 launcher and D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier, includes a study of a late payload integration that will enable third parties to board the launch vehicle as late as possible.

FINO MORNASCO, Italy, 1 September 2021 (D-Orbit PR) – Space logistics and transportation company D-Orbit announced the signing of an agreement with HyImpulse Technologies aiming at a joint launch and deployment mission that will leverage HyImpulse’s SL1 launcher and D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier.

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ESA Advances Vega Rocket Evolution Beyond 2025

The 3D-printed thrust chamber assembly of the methane-fuelled M10 rocket engine passed its first series of hot firing tests at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in the USA during February 2020. The M10 engine will power the upper stage of future Vega evolutions from 2025. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

FRASCATI, Italy (ESA PR) — ESA will further increase the competitiveness and environmental sustainability of Europe’s Vega launch system beyond 2025 through a contract signed with Avio in Italy.

Vega operates from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana to launch light satellites to one or multiple orbits in a single launch. This contract takes Vega a step further and marks the start of a new phase in preparation of a new Vega launch vehicle called Vega-E, which will make extensive use of Vega-C building blocks.

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Relativity Space Unveils Plans for Terran R, the First Fully Reusable, Entirely 3D-printed Rocket

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 8, 2021 (Relativity Space PR) – Relativity Space, has revealed today its plans for Terran R, its fully reusable, entirely 3D-printed launch vehicle. 

As a two-stage, 216-foot-tall rocket with a 16-foot diameter, and a 5-meter payload fairing, Terran R will be entirely reusable and capable of launching 20,000kg to low Earth orbit (LEO). Created in Relativity’s Factory of the Future, by the same printers as Terran 1, Terran R has unique aeronautical features and complex structures. The company’s proprietary 3D printing process utilizes software-driven manufacturing, exotic materials and unique design geometries that are not possible in traditional manufacturing, driving unprecedented innovation and disruption in the industry.  

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Launcher Raises $11.7 Million in Series A Funding Round

Launcher Light (Credit: Launcher)

Launcher announced earlier this week that it had raised $11.7 in a Series A funding round that was led by Boost.VC and company founder Max Hoat.

The funding, which exceeded the original goal of $7 million, will help the company fund development of its Launcher Light rocket. The booster will be similar in performance to Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, which is capable of putting 300 kg into low Earth orbit.

Launcher’s longer term goal is to develop Rocket-1, which would be capable of placing 773 kg into a 200 km high orbit or 400 kg into a 500 km high sun synchronous orbit.

Launcher is looking to raise an additional $40 million by the end of the year.

Launcher is based in Hawthorne, Calif., not far from SpaceX headquarters. The company has a small team working in Ukraine working on the E2 rocket motor.

Space Tech Startup Agnikul Raises $11M in Series A Round Led by Mayfield India

Existing investors – Speciale Invest, pi Ventures, and Artha Ventures – along with prominent angels including, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Anand Mahindra,, Aarthi Ramamurthy, and Sriram Krishnan invested in this round

CHENNAI, India, May 19, 2021 (Agnikul PR) — Space tech startup,Agnikul today announced raising $11 million in a Series A funding round led by Mayfield India, making it the largest funding round for a private Indian space technology company in India. Existing investors pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, and Artha Ventures also invested in this round. The round also saw participation from BEENEXT, Globevestor, LionRock Capital and prominent angel investors Anand Mahindra, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Nithin Kamath, Abhishek Singhania, Aarthi Ramamurthy; and Sriram Krishnan, Anicut Angel Fund, among others. As a part of the round, Mayfield India’s managing partner Vikram Godse will be joining the board of the company. The funds will be deployed to strengthen the technology infrastructure, expand ground testing and build a world class team to help Agnikul become India’s first private player to launch satellites in space.

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SMC’s Launch Enterprise and Space Development Corps’ Space Enterprise Consortium release three Requests for Prototype Proposals

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (SMC PR) – The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise, in collaboration with the Space Development Corps’ Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), today released three Requests for Prototype Proposals to industry.

SMC intends to partner with industry to invest in next generation rocket engine testing, upper stage resiliency enhancements, and orbital transfer and maneuver capabilities.

“These enabling investments are a part of the National Security Space Launch Phase 3 strategy to accelerate development of transformational space access capabilities and make them available for future NSSL procurement contracts,” said Col. Rob Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise. “We are eager to work with SpEC to maximize acquisition flexibility and speed to award the next generation rocket engine testing and upper stage resiliency enhancements Other Transactions by September 2021 and the orbital transfer and maneuver capabilities OTs in early 2022.”

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Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Further Launch Contracts

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

AUGSBURG, Germany (RFA PR) – OHB Cosmos International Launch Services GmbH, a company of OHB SE’s newly established business segment OHB DIGITAL, as well as LuxSpace, the group’s Luxembourg-based satellite manufacturer, both signed a contract for a dedicated launch with German-based launch service provider, Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), for upcoming missions scheduled for mid-2024 and 2025.

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