Virginia Governor Northam Announces Proposal for Rocket Lab USA to Expand U.S. Manufacturing and Launch Operations in Accomack County

Neutron booster (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Aerospace leader expected to make significant investment for construction of new Production, Assembly, Integration and Test facility, prepare for launch of new Neutron rocket

RICHMOND, Va. (Gov. Northam PR) — Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Accomack County is a finalist for a proposed expansion by Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in launch services and space systems, which expects to make a significant investment to expand its U.S. manufacturing and launch operations. If selected, the proposal would see Rocket Lab develop a new facility to support part production, assembly, integration and test operations to support the launch of its new Neutron rocket from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Announced by Rocket Lab in March 2021, the Neutron rocket is expected to be operational in late 2024 and is designed to deliver a 17,600 pound payload to low Earth orbit, and may ultimately support human spaceflight. 

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NASA Releases Autonomous Flight Termination Unit Software to Industry

The NASA Autonomous Flight Termination Unit. (Credits: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA has provided an advance release of its NASA Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (NAFTU) software code to the launch industry, a critical milestone toward the final certification of NAFTU, which is on-track for February 2022.

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Suborbital Testing Puts Moon-Bound Computing System Through its Paces

With a float duration of about four hours, a 2019 high-altitude balloon flight with World View Enterprises enabled the MSU team to evaluate RadPC’s tolerance to radiation over a longer period of time. (Credits: World View Enterprises)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

EDWARDS, Calif. — As you read this article, you don’t need to worry that cosmic radiation might destroy the computer displaying it. That’s because the Earth’s atmosphere provides protection against such radiation. However, for astronauts relying on computing systems in space, cosmic radiation is a real concern. This is why NASA is supporting tests of radiation-tolerant computing systems on suborbital vehicles – and eventually on the Moon.

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NASA Science, Cargo Launches on Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft launches from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA will deliver nearly 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the International Space Station and its crew. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with more than 8,200 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 6:01 p.m. EDT Tuesday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At 8:46 p.m., the spacecraft’s solar arrays successfully deployed to collect sunlight to power Cygnus on its journey to the station.

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ISS National Lab-Sponsored Investigations Ready for Northrop Grumman CRS-16 Flight to Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 6, 2021 (CASIS PR) – A variety of research investigations sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory are launching onboard Northrop Grumman’s 16th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting outpost. The mission will launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia no earlier than August 10, 2021, and a five-minute window for launch begins at 5:56 p.m. EDT.

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NASA TV Coverage Set for Next International Space Station Cargo Launch

Antares lifts off from Wallops Island with the Cygnus resupply ship on Feb. 20, 2021. (Credit: NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA and Northrop Grumman are targeting 5:56 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 10, for the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage of the launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 p.m. NASA also will hold a prelaunch news briefing Monday, Aug. 9.

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Rocket Lab’s Electron Launches U.S. Military Satellite in Successful Return to Flight

Electron engine firing (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

MAHIA PENINSULA, New Zealand — Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket launched an U.S. Space Force satellite on Thursday in a successful return to flight for the small-satellite booster after a launch failure in May.

The booster lifted off with the USSF’s Monolith technology technology demonstration satellite. Deployment from the booster’s kick stage occurred less than an hour after liftoff from Rocket Lab’s facility on the Mahia Peninsula.

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NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Northrop Grumman’s 16th Commercial Resupply Services Launch

Antares lifts off from Wallops Island with the Cygnus resupply ship on Feb. 20, 2021. (Credit: NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of Northrop Grumman’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for NG CRS-16 includes curated launch resources, notifications about interaction opportunities, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.

Northrop Grumman is targeting liftoff of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft for no earlier than 5:55 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10, from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island.

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Launch 2020: U.S. Reclaimed Top Spot, Flew Astronauts Again from American Soil

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The United States reclaimed the top spot in launches from China last year as NASA astronauts flew into orbit from American soil for the first time in nearly nine years, SpaceX deployed the world’s first satellite mega-constellation with reused rockets, and two new launchers debuted with less than stellar results.

American companies conducted 44 launches in 2020, with 40 successes and four failures. Bryce Tech reports that U.S. companies accounted for 32 of the 41 commercial launches conducted last year. The majority of those flights were conducted by SpaceX, which launched 25 orbital missions.

China came in second with a record of 35 successful launches and four failures. The 39 launch attempts tied that nation’s previous record for flights during a calendar year.

Let’s take a closer look at what U.S. companies achieved last year.

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Northrop Grumman Successfully Launches Minotaur I Rocket for the National Reconnaissance Office

The Minotaur I rocket was launched from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Flight extends flawless record of Minotaur product line to 28 missions

WALLOPS, Va. – June 15, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) launched its Minotaur I rocket today at 9:35 a.m. EDT, successfully placing a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload into orbit. The Minotaur I was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

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SPACovirus Sweeps Space Sector

Richard Branson celebrates the first Virgin Galactic trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Credit Virgin Galactic)
Wall Street’s latest easy money craze has attracted a growing number of space companies. But, just because they can go public, should they?

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Seven space companies have gotten caught up in the SPACovirus sweeping through Wall Street. The impact on the space industry is going to be interesting to watch.

A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition company. It’s a publicly traded investment firm that, with outside investors, acquires or merges with another company, and then takes the acquisition public under its own name.

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Testing Proves Its Worth With Successful Mars Parachute Deployment

Video obtained by camera aboard the Mars 2020 spacecraft during parachute deployment on Feb. 18, 2021. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The giant canopy that helped land Perseverance on Mars was tested here on Earth at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — Test. Test again. Test again.

Testing spacecraft components prior to flight is vital for a successful mission.

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Paragon Space Development Corporation Key Life Support System Onboard ISS Resupply Mission

TUCSON, Ariz. (Paragon Space Development Corporation PR) — Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon) is excited to announce that its latest life support technology was launched aboard Northrop Grumman’s 15th commercial resupply services mission (NG CRS-15) which arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.  Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft successfully launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Saturday, February 20th with over 8,000 pounds of scientific equipment and experiments and cargo aboard. 

Paragon’s Brine Processor System is a key part of the overall Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), which protects, preserves and promotes human life.  Paragon’s brine processing technology – which is vital to generating water for the crew of a spacecraft, space station or potential transport to or habitation on the Moon or Mars – represents a ground-breaking innovation that will be critical to long-duration human spaceflight missions.

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Nanoracks Launches Two CubeSats on NG-15 Cygnus

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., February 22, 2021 (Nanoracks PR) – Earlier today, the NG-15 Cygnus spacecraft berthed with the International Space Station (ISS), carrying two CubeSats in the Nanoracks External Cygnus Deployer (E-NRCSD). The Cygnus arrived at the ISS after launching from Wallops Flight Facility Pad 0A on February 22, 2021 at 17:36 UTC. In celebration of Black History Month, the NG-15 Cygnus has been named in honor of Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician who had a vital role in early human space flight missions.

This launch is Nanoracks’ ninth mission providing opportunities for CubeSat deployment from the Cygnus. The CubeSats onboard today’s launch, IT-SPINS and MySat-2 (DhabiSat), were built by students and researchers at Montana State University and Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi.

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