Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.

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Relativity and Impulse Space Announce the First Commercial Mission to Mars

Video Caption: Impulse Space, Inc. – leading the development of in-space transportation services for the inner solar system –announced a groundbreaking partnership and launch mission with Relativity Space, Inc., the first company to 3D print entire rockets and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world, to deliver the first commercial payload to Mars. With an anticipated launch window starting in 2024, the historic partnership rapidly advances the companies’ shared goal of a multiplanetary existence for humanity.

Under the exclusive agreement, Relativity is scheduled to launch Impulse’s Mars Cruise Vehicle and Mars Lander in Terran R from Cape Canaveral, FL in an exclusive arrangement until 2029. Terran R will deliver Impulse’s Mars Cruise Vehicle and Mars Lander on a trans-Mars injection (TMI) orbit launched from Earth to Mars. Once in Mars orbit, the aeroshell-equipped Mars Lander will enter the red planet’s atmosphere and propulsively land on Mars’ surface. Impulse’s Mars Lander will have its own payload capacity to the Martian surface, supporting the research and development needed to build toward humanity’s multiplanetary future.

Designed as the world’s first fully reusable, entirely 3D printed rocket, Terran R is pioneering a new class of reusable launch vehicles that will open new opportunities for space exploration and scientific research. Made possible through Relativity’s proprietary 3D printing process and exotic materials, Terran R features unique design geometries that are not possible to achieve in traditional manufacturing, driving exponential innovation and disruption in the industry.

With a five-meter payload fairing and the ability to launch almost 20 times greater payload than Terran 1 –Terran R represents a large leap towards Relativity’s mission to build humanity’s multiplanetary future, by serving as a point-to-point space freighter capable of missions between Earth, the Moon and Mars. To date, Relativity has signed a total of five customers for Terran R totaling more than $1.2B in backlog, including a multi-year, multi-launch Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with OneWeb recently announced in June 2022.

For more on Terran R, visit our website: https://www.relativityspace.com

For more information on Impulse, visit https://www.impulsespace.com

Relativity Space, OneWeb Sign Multi-launch Agreement for Terran R Rocket

Rendering of Terran 1 rocket launching from potential future Vandenberg launch site. (Credit: Relativity Space)

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 30, 2022 (Relativity Space PR) – Relativity Space, the first company to 3D print entire rockets and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world, announced today that it has signed a multi-year, multi-launch Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with OneWeb, the global space-based communications company. Under the agreement, Relativity will launch OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites on Terran R, the first fully reusable and entirely 3D printed rocket, starting in 2025. These launches will support OneWeb’s deployment of its Gen 2 satellite network, which will add capacity and fresh capabilities to build upon the initial constellation of 648 satellites the company is currently building out. 

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Rocket Updates: Relativity, Firefly and PLD Space Move Toward Launches

Relativity Space’s Terran 1 arrives at Cape Canaveral for its maiden launch. (Credit: Relativity Space)

Relativity Space’s Terran 1 booster has arrived at Cape Canaveral in Florida in preparation for its maiden flight later this year.

Dedicated Mission: $12 million

First Stage: 9 Aeon engines
Second Stage: 1 Aeon engine

Maximum Payload:
1,250 kg to 185 km low Earth orbit

Nominal Payload:
900 kg to 500 km sun synchronous orbit

High Altitude Payload:
700 kg to 1200 km sun synchronous orbit

Employees wave goodbye to a rocket stage being shipped to Vandenberg Space Force Base. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

Firefly Aerospace has shipped both stages required for the second flight test of its Alpha booster from Briggs, Texas to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch, which has been named To the Black, could occur in July.

First Stage: 4 Reaver 1 engines
Second Stage: 1 Lightning 1 engine

Payload

1,170 kg to low Earth orbit
Inclination: 28.5°
Altitude: 200 km

745 kg to sun synchronous orbit
Altitude: 500 km

MIURA 1 rocket on the launch pad for tests. (Credit: PLD Space)

PLD Space has its MIURA 1 single-stage suborbital rocket on the launch pad for tests.

First Stage:  1 TEPREL-B engine

Payload

100 kg to 150 km

Panel Urges Government, Industry Action to Improve Battered Space Supply Chain

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The question of how to strengthen the U.S. space industry’s weakened supply chain, which has been battered over the past two years by the global COVID-19 pandemic, was the subject of a panel discussion at the Space Tech Expo last week. The answers boiled down to the Pentagon adopting an agile approach to developing and acquiring technology, and reversing a decades-old trend by industry of outsourcing manufacturing abroad.

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Space Industry Launches Humanitarian Initiative to Support Ukraine

HERNDON, Va. (Space Industry for Ukraine PR) — Leaders of the space community today announced the Space Industry for Ukraine (SIFU), an initiative designed to fund and execute efforts that provide immediate humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. The initiative will be run by a steering committee, which includes HawkEye 360, National Security Space Association (NSSA), ABL Space Systems, ARKA, BlackSky, Capella Space, ICEYE, Insight Partners, Leidos, LeoLabs, Maxar, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Rebellion Defense, Relativity Space, Riverside Research, Rocket Lab, Velos and Viasat. The steering committee will fundraise, select and monitor the execution of critical humanitarian projects throughout Ukraine and its neighboring countries. Additional participating donor companies include The Aerospace Corporation, Cognitive Space and Shield Capital.

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Mariana Garavaglia Joins Relativity Space In Dual Role As Chief Business And People Officer

LOS ANGELES (Relativity Space PR) — Relativity Space, the first company to 3D print entire rockets and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world, is announcing Mariana Garavaglia as its first Chief Business and People Officer. After having served as an advisor to Relativity since summer 2021, in her new role, Mariana will oversee its Talent Acquisition, People, Legal, Security, and Environmental Health and Safety teams.

As a leader known for her ability to catalyze scale and growth, Mariana most recently served as Chief Operating Officer at Peloton Interactive, Inc., where she led a variety of key scaling functions from: Enterprise Technology and Global Talent to Security and Environmental Health & Safety. Her role also encompassed core human resources disciplines with a strategic emphasis on talent acquisition, engagement, development, and retention, serving as Peloton’s first Chief People Officer prior to extending her scope to encompass Business and Core Operations over the course of her tenure.

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NASA Rejected Relativity Space’s Plan for Commercial LEO Space Station

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Relativity Space unsuccessfully applied for NASA funding to begin work on a commercial space station under the space agency’s Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program, according to a newly released government document.

The space agency awarded $415.6 million for space station proposals from Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman. The commercial stations are designed to provide the United States with uninterrupted access to Earth orbit when the International Space Station is retired in 2030.

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2022 CSF Award Winners Announced in Recognition of Milestone Accomplishments in Commercial Space

WASHINGTON, D.C.  February 2, 2022 (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) announced today individual and organization winners of awards in recognition of milestone accomplishments in commercial space. The 2022 winners are:

  • Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) for The Commercial Space Policy Awardrecognizes a policymaker who has made significant and lasting contributions over the past year to the advancement of commercial space policy.
  • Blue Origin New Shepard Team for The Commercial Space Pioneer Award: recognizes outstanding technical contributions over the past year that has enabled commercial access to space.
  • Elon Musk, SpaceX, for The Commercial Space Business & Finance Awardrecognizes an investor, financier, or benefactor of commercial space activities whose support has benefited the industry as a whole.
  • Jeff Foust, SpaceNews, for The Excellence in Commercial Space Journalism Awardrecognizes a member of the media who has published critical stories on commercial space, contributed to expanding public awareness of the industry, and demonstrated the highest levels of journalistic integrity.
  • The Future Space Leaders Foundation for The Patti Grace Smith STEM Awardrecognizes a student, teacher, or program who/that has demonstrated a commitment to scientific excellence and the expansion of knowledge for the next generation of commercial space pioneers.
  • Tim Hughes, SpaceX  and Clay Mowry, Voyager Space Holdings, for The James Kuzma Space Community Award: recognizes outstanding contributions to the commercial space industry through advocacy and community building.
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NASA Rejected Commercial Space Station Proposals from Maverick Space, Orbital Assembly and ThinkOrbital

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA rejected space station development proposals from Maverick Space Systems, Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) and ThinkOrbital, according to a newly released document.

The three companies were competing for funding under the space agency’s Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program. The effort is focused on the development of private commercial space stations that will provide the the United States with uninterrupted access to Earth orbit when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2030.

NASA awarded $415.6 million for space station proposals from Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman under the CLD program. The space agency also rejected proposals from SpaceX and Relativity Space.

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NASA Selects Relativity Space for Venture-class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) Mission

Rendering of Terran 1 rocket launching from potential future Vandenberg launch site. (Credit: Relativity Space)

LONG BEACH, Calif., January 27, 2022 (Relativity Space PR) – Relativity Space,  announced today that the company has been selected by NASA as one of 12 companies to provide launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions, providing new opportunities for science and technology payloads and fostering a growing U.S. commercial launch market.

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12 Companies to Provide Venture Class Launch Services for NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 12 companies to provide launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions, providing new opportunities for science and technology payloads and fostering a growing U.S. commercial launch market.

Award selections are:

  • ABL Space Systems of El Segundo, California
  • Astra Space Inc. of Alameda, California
  • Blue Origin Florida LLC of Merritt Island, Florida
  • L2 Solutions LLC of Houston
  • Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of Chandler, Arizona
  • Phantom Space Corporation of Tucson, Arizona
  • Relativity Space Inc. of Long Beach, California
  • Rocket Lab USA Inc. of Long Beach, California
  • Spaceflight Inc. of Seattle
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California
  • United Launch Services LLC of Centennial, Colorado
  • Virgin Orbit LLC of Long Beach, California
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Fleet Space Technologies Raises $26.4 Million in Series B Round to Fund IoT Nanosat Development

Internet of Things satellite (Credit: Fleet Space Technologies)
  • Fleet Space Technologies attracts $26.4m (USD) investment valuing company at $126m (USD)
  • Series B Round oversubscribed
  • Investment confirms confidence in Fleet Space advanced satellite technology 
  • Tech drives radical Internet of Things (IoT) efficiencies 
  • Investment is firm commitment to Australia’s rapidly emerging space industry  
  • Investment creates 70 new jobs, including many desirable STEM positions 

ADELAIDE, Australia (Fleet Space Technologies PR) — Fleet Space Technologies announces that it has secured $26.4m (USD) in investment, valuing the company at $126 million (USD). This represents a major step forward for Fleet Space Technologies, which is committed to creating the world’s most advanced low-power satellite network, securing planet-wide coverage for millions of compatible Internet of Things (IoT) devices by using its in-house Nanosatellite technology. This funding will underpin significant expansion in Fleet Space’s manufacturing footprint and will expand the company’s highly skilled workforce. 

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USSF Awards OSP-4 Contract to Emerging Small Launch Providers

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — The U.S. Space Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program Office, part of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC) Launch Enterprise at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, announced the award of the first on ramp of the Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4 Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract Aug. 9, 2021, to ABL Space Systems Corp, Astra Space, Inc., and Relativity Space, Inc.

OSP-4 allows for the rapid acquisition of launch services to meet mission requirements for payloads greater than 400 pounds, enabling launch to any orbit within 12-24 months from task order award.  The RSLP will compete each mission among the IDIQ awardees. The addition of these emerging providers’ preserves, stimulates, and enhances the small launch industrial base and yields the Space Force a diverse vendor pool in support of the nation’s defense. 

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Relativity Space Raises $650 Million to Scale Terran R Rocket Production

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 8, 2021 (Relativity Space PR) – Relativity Space, the first company to 3D print an entire rocket and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world, today announced it closed a $650 million Series E equity funding round. The round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC with participation from investors including Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Centricus, Coatue, K5 Global, Soroban Capital, Tiger Global, Tribe Capital, XN, Brad Buss, Mark Cuban, Jared Leto, and Spencer Rascoff, among others. Following the announcement of its fully reusable, entirely 3D printed rocket, Terran R, the company’s latest round of funding enables the scaling of the Terran R program and long-term infrastructure development.  

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