David Hall Proposes New Technology Solution for Space Exploration

Washington (Velodyne Lidar PR) — David Hall is one of history’s rare technological visionaries with the imagination and technical wherewithal to recognize a problem, conceive a solution, and then build something that works. On December 6 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s event, LAUNCH: Industry Taking Off,

David Hall presented his world-changing solution to a longstanding problem: how to carry materials and people into space safely, reliably, and efficiently. The audience of industry, military, and policy representatives heard from Hall as well as keynote remarks from Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson; NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine; Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Michael Griffin; NOAA Deputy Administrator, Dr. Neil Jacobs; and Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

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Potentially Historic Flights Loom in Mojave

View of SpaceShipTwo Unity from the tail boom. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

It looks as if things could get very busy here at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the coming weeks with a possible pair of historic milestone flights.

Sir Richard Branson has said he expects SpaceShipTwo Unity to make a flight into space before Christmas, which is just over two weeks away. Sources say a flight is highly likely barring technical or weather delays.

Parabolic Arc has also heard that Stratolaunch could attempt the historic first flight of its massive carrier aircraft before the new year.
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Ariane 6 Moving Forward

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This has been an intense year for Ariane 6 development, with progress boosted across Europe: plants are manufacturing new parts using novel methods, all engines have been tested, and the construction of launch facilities is well underway.

ESA has worked with an industrial network led by prime contractor ArianeGroup, of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including 350 small- and medium-sized enterprises, to fine-tune the design and start production. Meanwhile, France’s CNES space agency has been preparing its launch facilities at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

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Inmarsat to be First Commercial Customer for Japan’s New H3 Launch Vehicle

H-III launch vehicle variants (Credit: JAXA)

London/Tokyo, December 6, 2018 (Inmarsat/MHI PR) – Inmarsat (LON: ISAT), the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, has today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) to be the first commercial customer to place an order for the new H3 launch vehicle. The maiden flight of H3 is scheduled for 2020 with Inmarsat planning to deploy the new launch vehicle after 2022.

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Video: A Look at NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Program

Video Caption: For years, tiny CubeSat satellites could only fly into space as hitchhikers, riding along with larger, primary payloads. Now, thanks to Venture Class Launch Services, these small packages of big science are getting their own rides into space on dedicated rockets — and on their own terms. Rocket Lab USA of Huntington Beach, California, and Virgin Orbit of Long Beach, California, are the two companies poised to propel CubeSats from coach class to first class.

PLD Space to Launch MIURA 1 Suborbital Rocket From “El Arenosillo” Experimentation Center

ARION1 booster (Credit: PLD Space)

ELCHE, Spain (PLD Space PR) — MIURA 1, the suborbital rocket developed by PLD Space, will be launched from “El Arenosillo” Experimentation Center (CEDEA), of INTA, during the third quarter of 2019. This technological demonstrator, whose development began in 2011, is designed to provide scientific and commercial access to space from Spain.

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Space Florida Negotiating with Unidentified Launch Company

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Space Florida is closer to a deal with an unidentified launch services company to bring 239 jobs to the Space Coast.

Space Florida’s Board of Directors approved a request to finalize negotiations with an undisclosed company under code name “Project Maricopa” Tuesday during its quarterly meeting in Orlando. Because of the competition involved in the deal, Space Florida will not reveal the name of the company until terms are complete.

Under the planned deal, the Florida Department of Transportation will reimburse 50 percent of what the company spends on common infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, up to $18.9 million. In exchange, the company will commit to investing $52 million in Florida….

Space Florida has been in talks with the company for the past year, ironing out a deal that would include launch services at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 20 and a manufacturing facility at Exploration Park, the state-run complex near Kennedy Space Center.

South Korea Successfully Launches Suborbital Rocket

Video Caption: On November 28th 16:00 KST, South Korea’s rocket “KSLV-II TLV” was launched to the sky. The purpose of the TLV was to qualify the 75tonf engine ‘KRE-075’, which will be used in the KSLV-II “NURI” orbital launch vehicle.

TLV, a suborbital rocket, burned its fuel for 151 seconds (goal was 140 secondes) and passed its apogee(209.1km), then fell to the sea. The launch was finally confirmed “SUCCESS”. This will be a important milestone of the KSLV-II(Korean Space Launch Vehicle) “NURI” development. (KSLV-II “NURI” will launch in 2021)

ESA Works on Improving Vega Performance & Capabilities

Europe’s Vega small launcher is set to demonstrate its extended capability to deploy multiple light satellites using its new versatile Small Satellites Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser, mid-2019. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Vega is proving its reliability. Based on this heritage, ESA and European industry are building new elements that will increase Vega’s performance, capabilities and flexibility from mid-2019.

A proof of concept flight on Vega of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service is planned for mid-2019.

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DLR Developing Reusable Rocket Engine for Small Satellite Launcher

Rocket motor during hot fire test (Credit: DLR)
  • DLR researchers have developed a reusable rocket engine specifically for the launch of small satellites.
  • The rocket engine consists of two central components: a metal injector head manufactured by means of metal 3D printing and a ceramic combustion chamber.
  • Small satellites have the potential to fundamentally change the space industry.
  • Focus: space, small satellites, new manufacturing technologies, fibre ceramics

STUTTGART, Germany (DLR PR) — Whether alone or in a constellation, small satellites weighing from just a few kilograms (nanosatellites) up to several hundred kilograms (micro- and minisatellites) are becoming increasingly technologically sophisticated and have the potential to fundamentally change the space industry. In the coming years, hundreds of such small satellites will be carried into Earth orbit.

As part of the EU project SMILE (Small Innovative Launcher for Europe), researchers from the Institute of Structures and Design at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed a reusable rocket engine especially for launching such satellites, and have performed an initial series of successful trials on a test rig.
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Virgin Orbit Completes First LauncherOne Captive Carry

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 performs its first captive carry of LauncherOne. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

VICTORVILLE, Calif., 19 November 2018 (Virgin Orbit PR) — This Sunday, a new sight appeared in the baby-blue skies over Southern California: A specially modified 747-400 carrying a 70-foot-long rocket under its wing soared through the air as part of a successful test flight for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. Sir Richard Branson’s small satellite launch company completed a flawless test flight, proving that its carbon-fiber two-stage rocket works perfectly as a pair with Cosmic Girl, the customized former passenger aircraft that serves as the company’s ‘flying launch pad.’ The successful test puts more air under the wings—and fins—of the company’s plans to reach orbit in early 2019.

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ESA Microlauncher Workshop Looks at New Ways to Access Space

Microlauncher concepts (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 16 November 2018 (ESA PR) — Access to space was in the spotlight at this week’s Φ event which followed an ESA-hosted workshop on Europe’s emerging microlaunch services held in Paris, France for industry, investors and institutions.

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Rocket Lab Raises $140 Million in Funding

Electron It’s Business Time lift-off (Credits: Kieran Fanning & Sam Toms)
  • Rocket Lab reveals $140 million (USD) funding in Series E financing, closed in advance of the company’s second successful orbital mission, ‘It’s Business Time’ on 11 November.
  • Investors show continued ardent support in pre-‘It’s Business Time’ launch round led by existing backers Future Fund (Australia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund), with participation from current investors Greenspring Associates, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures, and K1W1.
  • New investor, the Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand (ACC), also joins the round.
  • Funding will support continued Electron vehicle production expansion, new launch sites and three new major research and development programs.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., November 15, 2018 (Rocket Lab PR) – US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has closed a Series E financing round of $140 million (USD). The funding round closed last month, prior to the launch of the successful mission ‘It’s Business Time,’ and was led by existing investor Future Fund, with strong participation from current investors including Greenspring Associates, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures and K1W1. New investor ACC also contributed to the round. The Series E round close brings total Rocket Lab funding to date to more than $288 million (USD), with the company now soaring past its previous $1 billion-plus (USD) valuation.

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Video: CNBC Interviews Rocket Lab Founder Peter Beck

Video Caption: Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket comes at a price tag that’s only a fraction of the $50 million or more it costs to launch a larger rocket. How will that revolutionize the industry and expand who will be able to send satellites into space? Rocket Lab put seven spacecraft in orbit on Saturday with its first commercial launch, as the company grew its lead in the burgeoning small rocket industry.

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DARPA Names Potential Sites for Launch Challenge, Eighteen Teams Prequalify

DARPA Launch Challenge candidate sites (Credit: DARPA)

ARLINGTON, Va. (NASA PR) — DARPA has narrowed the potential launch locations for the DARPA Launch Challenge to eight, with options for both vertical and horizontal launch. The challenge will culminate in late 2019 with two separate launches to low Earth orbit within weeks of each other from two different sites. Competitors will receive information about the final launch sites, payloads, and targeted orbit in the weeks prior to each launch.

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