Virgin orbit – Jenam 2011 http://jenam2011.org/ Sun, 26 Jun 2022 11:27:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://jenam2011.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/cropped-icon-32x32.png Virgin orbit – Jenam 2011 http://jenam2011.org/ 32 32 VIRGIN ORBIT ON TARGET FOR NEXT LAUNCH WINDOW TO OPEN ON JUNE 29 https://jenam2011.org/virgin-orbit-on-target-for-next-launch-window-to-open-on-june-29/ Fri, 24 Jun 2022 17:07:23 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/virgin-orbit-on-target-for-next-launch-window-to-open-on-june-29/

Strong points:

  • Dress rehearsals completed, successful payload-rocket coupling
  • June 29 marks the opening of the launch window for the company’s fourth global mission
  • Is the historic UK launch slated for later this year

LONG BEACH, Calif. — June 24, 2022 — The Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) launch system is in place at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Dress rehearsals are over and the company remains on track for its next Directly launch, with a launch window opening on June 29 at 10 p.m. PDT.

The launch will support the US Space Force’s STP-S28A mission and will carry payloads for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Space Test Program (STP). The target orbit for Directly is about 500 km above the Earth’s surface with an inclination of 45 degrees. Virgin Orbit is the first company to achieve this feat from California with its Above the Clouds launch which completed earlier this year.

As of the date of this release, Tyler Grinnell, Vice President of Tests, Flights and Launches for Virgin Orbit, says everything is going according to plan and remains on schedule in preparation for the company’s fourth mission.

“Our hardware is in excellent condition and the team is performing exceptionally well as we prepare for our first night launch,” Grinnell said. “The perspective we gained from each previous launch is really paying off now. Our teams in the sky and on the ground are ready to continue our mission to get our customers’ satellites precisely where they need to go.

To follow the launch and get real-time updates and information on the launch day public live stream, follow Virgin Orbit on LinkedInTwitter @virginorbitand on Instagram @virgin.orbit.

About Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the company began commercial service in 2021 and has already put commercial, civilian, national security and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, Calif., and are launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations around the world to better respond to needs of each client. Learn more at www.virginorbit.com and visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @virginorbit and on Instagram @virgin.orbit.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws, including with respect to expected Brazilian space activities and launches. These forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “believe”, “project”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “intend”, “strategy”, “future”, “opportunity “, “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will,” “will,” “will likely,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, therefore, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, including, but not limited to, the Company’s ability to access sources of capital; its ability to increase its market share in the developing space economy; market acceptance of its current and anticipated products and services and its ability to achieve sufficient production volumes, and the factors, risks and uncertainties included in the company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended on March 31, 2022, and in the Company’s subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Information section of the Company’s website at www.virginorbit.com. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Virgin Orbit undertakes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information , future events or otherwise. Virgin Orbit does not guarantee that it will meet its expectations.

contacts

Linda Rivera
Senior Communications Officer, Virgin Orbit
Linda.rivera@virginorbit.com
+1-323-316-6499

Amanda Horn
Amanda.horn@4media-group.com
+1-775-636-2567

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Spaceport America looks more and more like a mirage https://jenam2011.org/spaceport-america-looks-more-and-more-like-a-mirage/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 06:02:20 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/spaceport-america-looks-more-and-more-like-a-mirage/
Denis Kintigh

Last May, Virgin Galactic announced another postponement, much to the disappointment of Michelle Lujan Grisham and her predecessors. Less than a year ago, Spaceport was the scene of high fives and joyful dancing celebrating the incredible wonder of – what exactly? A replica of what NASA accomplished six decades ago? Almost 20 years and a quarter of a billion dollars after the “revolutionary” concept/scam was first proposed, we have, what, the most expensive roller coaster in the world?

Santa Fe politicians promised it was New Mexico’s foothold for a wonderful new industry, space travel. However, much like the discontinued State Supercomputer and the revived Rail Runner, what is delivered is significantly less than what was promised.

What really happened in the skies of New Mexico? Was it real space travel? Will this ever turn into space travel? These were the hard questions ever asked, let alone answered. To have more than just a ride, a spaceship needs to get into orbit, and a usable orbit to boot.

One of the little-known realities is that in orbital mechanics, it’s not how high you go, it’s how fast you go. Unfortunately, Virgin Galactic falls far short of both. The 50 miles in altitude hailed as the edge of space is less than half of the 130 miles in altitude of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik. GPS satellites circle the earth every 12 hours, 1,260 miles above sea level. Even if they could lob the “spaceship” “Unity” higher, the maximum speeds reached are lower a third of what is needed to insert a device into orbit.

Wait though…this is just the first step. Oh good? “Air launch to orbit” systems have placed only very small satellites in low orbit. There are serious payload limitations with these systems. Moreover, single-stage orbiting remains a fantasy.

To get out of the atmosphere and stay there, you need a multi-stage launch vehicle. This means you have to drop large rocket chunks from the sky, which isn’t very popular on earth. While Space X managed to recover the first stage, the second stage is still jettisoned into the ocean. Blue Origin’s sub-orbital launches from Van Horn use a single recoverable propellant. To perform orbital flights, Blue Origin will relocate to an oceanfront property, which is rare in New Mexico. Even Virgin Orbit launched over the Pacific Ocean far from Spaceport America.

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that one can launch a multi-stage rocket from Spaceport America. There remains the small problem of latitude. Without going too far into orbital mechanics, the latitude of the launch site determines the angle or inclination of the orbit. Minimal or no incline is preferred. To reduce the inclination once in orbit a “change of plane” is performed. It is the most energy-intensive orbital maneuver. “Energy” means fuel, fuel means weight, and weight is the enemy of all space programs. High latitude is a problem that has hampered the Russian space program from the start. This is also the reason why the launch site of the European Space Agency is in French Guiana, practically on the equator.

After a quarter of a billion dollars and a decade and a half, Spaceport looks like a mirage. Too bad economics, science and orbital mechanics got in the way.

Former FBI agent and state representative Dennis Kintigh served as mayor of Roswell from 2014 to March 2022. He has a BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona and spent six years in the USAF and civilian military space programs.

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UK plans to invest $2.5 billion in new military technologies https://jenam2011.org/uk-plans-to-invest-2-5-billion-in-new-military-technologies/ Sat, 18 Jun 2022 11:00:58 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/uk-plans-to-invest-2-5-billion-in-new-military-technologies/

By 2026, the UK Ministry of Defense plans to spend $2.5 billion on research and development of new technologies, with the aim of keeping the country at the forefront. Covering a range of programs from artificial intelligence to hypersonics, the spending plan – announced on June 7 – offers a comprehensive overview of the type of investment and technologies the UK sees as necessary to ensure that the one of the oldest advanced armies in the world retains its position. through the 21st century.

“The next decade will see the ability to advance and harness science and technology as an increasingly important measure of global power and a key driver of economic, political and military competition,” read a statement of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, describing the portfolio.

The lab has announced that £2 billion ($2.5 billion) will be spent by 2026, as part of a wider research and development initiative outlined in a 2021 strategic review. Some of the technologies consist to incorporate advanced technologies found elsewhere in other armies. But for many, there is a promise that the research will deliver not just next-gen capability, but “gen-after-next” technology. The Lab describes them as capabilities that do not yet exist, where the contributing technology is not fully understood.

Preparing for war with tools that will exist in two generations is to aim to build the stepping stones to access these technologies. These are three of the most interesting programs, intended to prepare the Department of Defense to fight wars in the 2050s and beyond.

Hypersonics

Under development by countries like the United States, China and Russia, “hypersonic” is the category of any weapon traveling at five or more times the speed of sound. These weapons have profound implications for long-range attacks and even nuclear deterrence.

In its brief statement on the development of a hypersonic program, the Department of Defense stresses that working on the weapon will prove the country is “a credible partner for hypersonic science and technology”, likely keeping it in orbit. partner countries alongside which the UK regularly develops weapons.

Getting to a hypersonic weapon first means making advances in materials and other weapon systems, breakthroughs that can then support a super-fast missile industry. For all these efforts, the Laboratory says the weapon will “provide transformational and affordable options to deliver operational advantage to future British Armed Forces”.

While it’s unclear how each technology in the portfolio will transform warfare, hypersonics is pretty straightforward: a missile that can fly at Mach 5 can threaten warships, buildings, armies, and even political leadership. ‘a remote and high-speed country, while complicated the challenge of interception for any potential missile defense.

Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE)

Borrowing a name from the witch in Homer’s Odyssey, CIRCE is a pair of satellites that together will carry sensors to analyze space weather. satellites, describe the size of a “cereal box”, are designed to monitor changes in the isosphere, the part of the atmosphere where “variations in the environment can interfere with the operation of GPS, communications and detection technology”.

The Global Positioning System, or GPS, now known as the fundamental navigation technology of civilian life, started as and remains a military technology maintained by the US Air Force, and these satellites will improve understanding of the space through which its signal travels. Knowing ionospheric weather and its influence on signals means the military could better know how to adapt to unexpected interference.

Once in orbit, “CIRCE will improve our understanding of space weather and help us protect critical satellites from the many hazards associated with operating in space,” said Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command, said in a press release.

The CIRCE satellites will enter space using a launch vehicle manufactured by Virgin Orbit, attached to the wing of a 747 jumbo jet. Using an aircraft to achieve some of the distance to space greatly reduces the distance the rocket has to travel, and launches of small wing-mounted satellites could be a more cost-effective way to populate space with useful sensors.

See through smoke and other obstacles

To fight the wars of the future, an army of the future will have to see what it is up against. Another technology in the next-gen (and next-gen) portfolio is future sensors. With the aim of finding new ways to collect and share useful information in dangerous and difficult situations, such as combat in urban areas or in terrain difficult for radio signals, the Laboratory is working on a range of technologies all grouped under the “future sensing” section.

One such hazard is smoke, which is both a natural effect of gunpowder and often deliberately used to block sight. One approach to dealing with this is to use lidar, and in a study 2021a lidar-based technique enabled real-time mapping through smoke at a distance of up to nearly 500 feet or 150 meters.

Other work funded by the Lab explores how existing or new cameras can see through snowstorms and clouds. New sensors for tracking small drones in the open or in urban environments can also make the world more visible to a soldier, allowing an army to better act on deeper information from a battlefield.

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Spaceplane company announces plane that will fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo in one hour https://jenam2011.org/spaceplane-company-announces-plane-that-will-fly-from-los-angeles-to-tokyo-in-one-hour/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 18:24:56 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/spaceplane-company-announces-plane-that-will-fly-from-los-angeles-to-tokyo-in-one-hour/

HOUSTON— An aerospace company has announced that an airplane it claims will carry passengers around the world and always get them home in time for dinner!

Houston start-up Venus Aerospace says the Mach 9 hypersonic aircraft will be able to “One Hour World Trip.” The company showcased its first concept vehicle, the “Stargazer”, at UP.Summit in Bentonville, Arkansas.

They explained that the Venus Vehicle Engineering team has been working on this iteration since the company was founded in 2020.

“At Venus Aerospace, we are building the world’s first spaceplane capable of flying at hypersonic speeds at the edge of the atmosphere. A spaceplane that can take off from LAX and land in Tokyo in an hour, then fly back to take you home for dinner,” a spokesperson said in a statement, according to SWNS.

Backed by “leading venture capitalists,” Venus says it received $1 million in government funding for the project, adding that “Venus has since raised more than $33 million to build a Mach 9 hypersonic drone and a Mach spaceplane. 9, both capable of world time. travel.”

Digital rendering of the Stargazer, the company’s first hypersonic vehicle concept design. (Credit: Venus Aerospace)

Hypersonic travel by 2023?

Venus Aerospace says it has “moved rapidly” over the past year, having designed and built its technology demonstration engine, executed key experiments in hypersonic wind tunnels and propulsion test facilities across the United States, and launched a ground test campaign at Spaceport Houston.

Over the next year, they plan to begin subsonic and supersonic flight testing of a full-scale drone.

Venus was founded by Sarah “Sassie” Duggleby, formerly a launch systems engineering and mission management consultant at Virgin Orbit, and Dr. Andrew Duggleby, former launch operations manager at Virgin Orbit.

Their team consists of a dedicated and experienced crew of aerospace, military, and research and development veterans who are “pushing the boundaries of high-speed transportation.”

hypersonic space plane
(Credit: Venus Aerospace)

“The team is maturing its three core technologies: a next-generation zero-emission rocket engine, an innovative aircraft shape, and state-of-the-art cooling, which allows the spaceplane to take off from existing spaceports, using the ‘existing infrastructure,’ the spokesperson told SWNS.

“Our team solves the thousands of problems that make hypersonic travel possible. We design innovative aircraft shapes, heat shields, flight mechanisms and much more. All of this is supported by our next-generation zero-carbon hypersonic engine.

Report by South West News Service editor Dean Murray

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Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starship rocket will be ready to fly in July https://jenam2011.org/elon-musk-says-spacexs-starship-rocket-will-be-ready-to-fly-in-july/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 18:15:05 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/elon-musk-says-spacexs-starship-rocket-will-be-ready-to-fly-in-july/

Space company SpaceX owned by billionaire Elon Musk is approaching a major milestone in the development of its Starship rocket. The billionaire CEO today announced that the company will have a “ready-to-fly” prototype Starship rocket by July, with his space venture aiming to reach orbit with the vehicle for the first time.

The company is currently working to meet its environmental impact requirements, as noted this week by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The company previously hoped to complete the Starship’s orbital flight test as early as last summer, but delays in development progress and regulatory approval have steadily pushed that schedule back.

The FAA made a crucial environmental decision on Monday that concluded a long-awaited assessment of the program. SpaceX would need to complete more than 75 of the agency’s actions before applying for the launch license required for the flight test.

Musk said in a series of tweets that he spent time at the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas on Monday night “reviewing the progress” of the rocket. He added that the company “will have a second flight-ready Starship stack in August” and aims to conduct “monthly flights thereafter.”

The company is developing its nearly 400-foot-tall reusable Starship rocket with the goal of transporting goods and people beyond Earth. The rocket and its Super Heavy booster are powered by SpaceX’s Raptor series of engines. SpaceX has conducted several high-altitude flight tests with Starship prototypes, but it has yet to reach space.

What you need to know about SpaceX

  • Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and revolutionizing the aerospace industry.
  • Musk initially funded SpaceX with his own money, but after he gained enough experience, he was able to get millions of dollars from NASA to build his rockets and spacecraft, as well as deliver cargo to the Station. international space.
  • The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, as well as several rocket engines, the Dragon freighter, the crew spacecraft and the Starlink communications satellites, are all made by SpaceX.
  • Space X was the first private company to launch and return a spacecraft from Earth orbit, as well as the first to launch and dock a crewed spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).
  • In the commercial rocket business, the company competes with former Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin and billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
  • Civilians have been successfully launched into space by all three rocket companies. Morgan Stanley estimates that the space economy will reach $1 trillion by 2040.

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Astra rocket fails shortly after takeoff from Cape Canaveral – Spaceflight Now https://jenam2011.org/astra-rocket-fails-shortly-after-takeoff-from-cape-canaveral-spaceflight-now/ Sun, 12 Jun 2022 12:17:12 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/astra-rocket-fails-shortly-after-takeoff-from-cape-canaveral-spaceflight-now/

The first of three launches to deploy a fleet of six small NASA hurricane research satellites failed minutes after liftoff at 1:43 p.m. EDT (1743 GMT) Sunday from Cape Canaveral. The upper stage engine of Astra’s small commercial launch vehicle shut down prematurely, leading to the loss of NASA’s first two TROPICS nanosatellites.

Astra has been counting down more than 90 minutes to resolve a concern over the liquid oxygen conditioning on the rocket. Stormy weather delayed the rocket’s launch for a two-hour window Sunday from Space Launch Complex 46, a commercial launch facility operated by Space Florida near the eastern tip of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

But the rocket’s upper stage shut down early at about T+plus 7 minutes and 21 seconds, about a minute less than the engine’s predicted burn time.

The rocket that flew on Sunday, called Rocket 3.3 or LV0010, is the smallest orbital-class launcher currently in service in the world. It is about 13.1 meters (43 feet) tall and weighs about as much as a small business jet when fully fueled.

The two TROPICS satellites were each about the size of a loaf of bread or a shoebox. They were stuffed with miniaturized sensor technology that once had to fly on a satellite larger than a refrigerator.

The microwave radiometers on each of the TROPICS satellites were designed to collect imagery, temperature and humidity data on tropical cyclones. Equipped with a fleet of satellites, the TROPICS mission will be able to follow the rapid evolution of cyclones at a rate of at least once per hour.

“These are important variables because they can be related to the intensity of the storm, and even the potential for future intensification,” said William Blackwell, principal investigator of the TROPICS mission at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. “So we try to do these measurements with a relatively high revisit. That’s really the key new feature that the TROPICS constellation provides, it’s a better storm revisit.

The TROPICS satellite fleet is designed to collect hurricane data with a frequency of approximately once every 50 minutes. NASA says it only needs four operational satellites, or two successful Astra launches, to meet minimum mission success criteria. The other four TROPICS satellites are under construction and awaiting launch on future Astra rockets.

TROPICS stands for Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats. The mission has a total cost of around $40 million, according to NASA.

Each TROPICS satellite, assembled by Blue Canyon Technologies in Colorado, weighs about 11.8 pounds (5.3 kilograms).

Astra aimed to launch the two TROPICS satellites into an orbit about 357 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth, with an inclination of 29.75 degrees to the equator. The low-inclination orbit selected for the TROPICS mission will focus satellite observations on tropical cyclone development hotspots.

Astra’s Rocket 3.3 vehicle at Space Launch Complex 46 prior to launch of the TROPICS-1 mission. Credit: Astra / Brady Kenniston

Founded in 2016, Astra aspires to eventually launch daily missions to carry small satellites into orbit for a range of customers, including the US military, commercial companies and NASA. With Sunday’s failure, the company managed to reach orbit in two of seven trials.

Astra’s most recent flight in March marked the first time the company has placed functioning satellites into orbit, after lifting off from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Astra’s previous launch in February, which left Cape Canaveral, failed to place a payload of NASA-sponsored CubeSats into orbit.

NASA officials were aware of the risk of flying satellites on a relatively untested new launch vehicle. TROPICS is part of NASA’s Earth Venture program, a series of low-cost missions designed for Earth science research. NASA assumes more risk for Venture-class missions.

Astra’s first launch with two TROPICS satellites began with the ignition of Rocket 3.3’s five kerosene-fueled engines at pad 46. Delphin engines propelled the launcher off the pad with 32,500 pounds of thrust, propelling the rocket toward east-northeast of Cape Canaveral.

The first-stage engine shutdown occurred three minutes after liftoff, followed by the separation of the rocket’s payload fairing, which covered the upper stage and TROPICS payloads during climb through the atmosphere. Then the rocket’s booster stage was jettisoned to fall into the Atlantic, allowing the upper stage to ignite its small 740-pound thrust during a five-minute planned burn to accelerate to orbital speed.

The deployment of the TROPICS satellites was scheduled at T+ plus 8 minutes and 40 seconds, according to a mission schedule published by Astra.

But the engine stopped about a minute earlier, before it had reached enough speed for everyone to enter a stable orbit. The satellites and upper stage were to fall back into the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of miles downriver from Cape Canaveral.

If the launch had been successful, the satellites were scheduled to deploy solar panels to begin generating electricity, and ground crews would have operated the TROPICS spacecraft for several weeks of testing and verification.

Artist’s rendering of two TROPICS satellites collecting hurricane data. Credit: NASA

The second and third TROPICS launches – scheduled for late June and mid-July before Sunday’s failure – will aim to deploy the next four satellites into precise orbital planes, giving the constellation the proper spacing to allow regular cyclone flybys.

At the start of Sunday’s mission, NASA officials said the satellites should all be collected by August, just in time for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, according to program scientist Will McCarty. from NASA for the mission. The mission is designed for at least one year of scientific observations.

But the impact of the failed launch on the next two TROPICS launches was not immediately clear. It may take weeks or months for Astra to identify and fix the cause of Sunday’s failure.

Many CubeSats travel to space in carpool launches, allowing operators to take advantage of reduced costs by consolidating their payloads onto a single large rocket. But TROPICS satellites need dedicated launches to reach their precise orbital destinations.

“We want to space out spacecraft as much as possible and keep them above the tropical cyclone belt,” Blackwell said ahead of Sunday’s launch. “This global setup allows us to do that, but it requires three separate dedicated launchers.”

Astra beat out bids from SpaceX, Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit and Momentus largely due to their lower cost proposition, according to NASA. NASA is paying Astra nearly $8 million for the entire three-launch campaign.

ROCKET: Astra Rocket 3.3 (LV0010)

PAYLOAD: TROPICS-1 (two satellites)

LAUNCH SITE: SLC-46, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2022

LAUNCH WINDOW: 12:00-2:00 p.m. EDT (4:00-6:00 p.m. GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 60% to 90% chance of violating weather constraints

BOOSTER RECOVERY: None

LAUNCH AZIMUTH: East-northeast

TARGET ORBIT: 357 miles (550 kilometers), 29.75 degree incline

LAUNCH TIMETABLE:

  • T+00:00: Takeoff
  • T+00:06: Start presentation
  • T+01:10: Maximum air pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+03:00: First stage main engine shutdown (MECO)
  • T+03:05: Release of the payload fairing
  • T+03:10: Floor separation
  • T+03:15: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+08:30: Second stage engine shutdown (SECO)
  • T+08:40: TROPICS deployment

MISSION STATS:

  • 7th orbital launch attempt by Astra
  • 5th launch of Astra’s Rocket 3.3 configuration
  • 2nd Astra launch from Florida
  • 5th orbital launch attempt from pad 46
  • 3rd Astra launch of 2022
  • 24th orbital launch based at Cape Canaveral in 2022

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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Astra begins three-launch campaign with NASA hurricane research satellites – Spaceflight Now https://jenam2011.org/astra-begins-three-launch-campaign-with-nasa-hurricane-research-satellites-spaceflight-now/ Sat, 11 Jun 2022 04:00:49 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/astra-begins-three-launch-campaign-with-nasa-hurricane-research-satellites-spaceflight-now/
Astra’s 3.3 rocket, tail number LV0010, sets up its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station ahead of the launch of NASA’s TROPICS-1 mission. Credit: Brady Kenniston/Astra

Astra is preparing to launch the first of three consecutive NASA-dedicated missions this weekend from Cape Canaveral to deploy six shoebox-sized hurricane research satellites, helping to create a new mission paradigm. more risky but less expensive science.

The commercial launch company, geared towards the burgeoning small satellite industry, last year won a $7.95 million contract to launch NASA’s six TROPICS spacecraft into orbit using three rockets .

The first of three TROPICS missions is scheduled to lift off during a two-hour window opening at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) on Sunday. Forecasters are predicting stormy weather at the launch site, with more than a 50% chance that conditions will prevent liftoff. Conditions are expected to improve on Monday, according to the official launch weather forecast.

Astra delivered the rocket to Florida’s space coast last month from its California factory, then conducted a test-firing of the booster’s five engines at Space Launch Complex 46, a commercially operated facility near the furthest expanse. east of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The first two TROPICS satellites are mounted inside a deployer on top of the 43-foot-tall (13.1-meter) Astra launch vehicle, which the company calls Rocket 3.3, or tail number LV0010.

“We’re trying to improve observations of tropical cyclones,” said William Blackwell, principal investigator of MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s TROPICS mission. “And what we’re really trying to characterize is the fundamental thermodynamic environment around the storm. So it’s things like temperature, the amount of humidity and intensity of precipitation, and the structure around the storm.

“These are important variables because they can be linked to the intensity of the storm, and even the potential for future intensification,” Blackwell said Friday in an interview with Spaceflight Now. “So we try to do these measurements with a relatively high revisit. That’s really the key new feature that the TROPICS constellation provides, it’s a better storm revisit.

“We’ll have six satellites in orbit, and one satellite will work to get a nice picture of the storm, and then the next satellite will orbit closely behind it about an hour late,” Blackwell said. “So we’ll have, about every hour, a new image of the storm, and that’s about five to eight times better than what we’re getting today. With these new, rapidly updated image measurements, we hope that it will help us better understand the storm and ultimately better predict the hurricane’s track and intensity.

TROPICS stands for Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats. The mission has a total cost of around $30 million, according to NASA.

Each TROPICS satellite has a single instrument. A microwave radiometer, the size of a coffee cup and rotating 30 times per minute, will create images of tropical cyclones, collect temperature measurements and collect vertical profiles of humidity in the atmosphere.

“I I love TROPICS, just because it’s a bit of a crazy mission,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, chief science mission director at NASA. “Think of six CubeSats doing science, watching tropical storms with a repeat time of 50 minutes.”

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“NOAA and the Europeans and many others have been using passive microwave radiometers for decades, and they’re big, expensive instruments,” Blackwell said. “What we’ve done with TROPICS is miniaturize the electronics to make it much smaller.

“The whole satellite for TROPICS, one of them weighs about 10 pounds and is about the size of a loaf of bread,” Blackwell said. “So they’re relatively inexpensive to build and test, and we can make them quite quickly, and they’re relatively inexpensive to launch.”

The TROPICS satellites were built by Blue Canyon Technologies in Boulder, Colorado. Their small size makes them a good fit for Astra, which can deliver around 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of payload into a 310-mile-high (500-kilometer) orbit. Astra’s rocket is the smallest orbital-class launcher currently in flight.

Astra will launch two TROPICS satellites at once, performing missions several weeks apart. If all goes well, launches should be complete by the end of July.

The satellites will launch into orbit 550 kilometers above Earth, circling the planet at an angle of 29.75 degrees from the equator. The low-inclination orbit will focus TROPICS observations on tropical cyclone development hotspots.

The second and third TROPICS launches – currently scheduled for late June and mid-July – will aim to deploy the next four satellites into precise orbital planes, giving the constellation the proper spacing to allow regular cyclone flybys.

Many CubeSats travel to space in carpool launches, allowing operators to take advantage of reduced costs by consolidating their payloads onto a single large rocket. But TROPICS satellites need dedicated launches to reach their precise orbital destinations.

“We want to space out spacecraft as much as possible and keep them above the tropical cyclone belt,” Blackwell said. “This global setup allows us to do that, but it requires three separate dedicated launchers.”

Astra beat out bids from SpaceX, Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit and Momentus largely due to their lower cost proposition, according to NASA.

“NASA chose Astra because of our unique ability to reach three different orbital aircraft in a very short time, at low cost,” said Martin Attiq, Chief Commercial Officer of Astra. “So to be able to pitch three different times for $8 million is unprecedented.”

Artist’s rendering of the TROPICS satellite constellation. Credit: NASA / MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory

Founded in 2016, Astra ultimately aims to launch daily missions to carry small satellites into orbit for a range of customers, including the US military, commercial companies and NASA. The company managed to reach orbit in two of the six trials.

Astra’s most recent flight in March marked the first time the company has placed functioning satellites into orbit, after lifting off from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Astra’s previous launch in February, which left Cape Canaveral, failed to place a payload of NASA-sponsored CubeSats into orbit.

NASA officials are aware of the risk of flying satellites on a relatively untested new launch vehicle. TROPICS is part of NASA’s Earth Venture program, a series of low-cost missions designed for Earth science research. NASA assumes more risk for Venture-class missions.

“Only four of the spacecraft have to work, so two rockets have to work,” Zurbuchen said. “It’s a different level of risk than what we do in so many other things where we focus on, smooth out the risk and reduce it as much as possible. And it’s deliberate. It’s deliberate because the speed is important when you’re in the innovation game, and we want new capabilities, new assets, and new tools.

NASA selected TROPICS for development in 2016.

“We designed the mission from the ground up to build in some robustness to failure,” Blackwell said. “The choice of six satellites was made to give us some leeway. We only needed four to meet our baseline requirements, so we could tolerate satellite failures or launch failures, or whatever, and we could still meet our requirements.

Astra’s first launch with two TROPICS satellites will begin with the ignition of Rocket 3.3’s five kerosene-fueled engines at pad 46. Delphin engines will propel the launch vehicle off the pad with 32,500 pounds of thrust, propelling the rocket upward east- northeast of Cape Canaveral.

Shutdown of the first-stage engine is scheduled for three minutes after liftoff, followed by separation of the rocket payload fairing, which covers the upper stage and TROPICS payloads during climb through the atmosphere. Then the rocket booster stage will jettison to fall into the Atlantic, allowing the upper stage to ignite for five minutes to accelerate to orbital speed.

The deployment of the TROPICS satellites is scheduled for T+plus 8 minutes, 40 seconds, according to a mission schedule published by Astra.

The six TROPICS CubeSats. Credit: Blue Canyon Technologies

Satellites will deploy solar panels to begin generating electricity, and ground crews will operate the TROPICS spacecraft through testing and verification.

If all three TROPICS launches lift off as planned, the satellites should all be collected by August, just in time for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, according to Will McCarty, NASA program scientist for the mission. The mission is designed for at least one year of scientific observations.

“We’re, of course, very motivated to get the data as soon as possible because we’re going to be in the throes of the Atlantic hurricane season, so there’s going to be a lot of demand for that data,” Blackwell said. .

A pathfinder satellite for the TROPICS mission launched last June as part of a SpaceX rideshare mission and performed well in orbit, collecting temperature and humidity test measurements from several tropical cyclones, including the Hurricane Ida before it makes landfall in Louisiana.

Experience with the TROPICS pathfinder satellites builds confidence that the six operational satellites will work, McCarty said.

“Our requirement from NASA is to collect science data for a year, and we hope to go longer than that,” Blackwell said. “There are cases where these CubeSats last three years or even longer, so we hope it will be much longer than the one-year requirement.”

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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Left in the Dust: The First Golden Age of Citizen Space Travel: UNM Newsroom https://jenam2011.org/left-in-the-dust-the-first-golden-age-of-citizen-space-travel-unm-newsroom/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 19:36:21 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/left-in-the-dust-the-first-golden-age-of-citizen-space-travel-unm-newsroom/

The first civilian in space was a Japanese journalist in 1990, Toyohiro Akiyama. Then, six months later, Helen Sharman, a prominent British chemist, won a radio competition, beating over 13,000 other British men and women. However, both were denied inclusion in the commercial space tourism club.

“Citizens’ access to space is extremely important as a tourism niche and, more importantly, for the future of humanity.” – Dirk Duran-Gibson, professor emeritus at UNM

In 1990, Akiyama spent a week in space for the Tokyo Broadcasting System where he was a reporter. Her employer paid $12 million for her trip, which promoted the 40th anniversary of her broadcast network.

Sharman was a distinguished British chemist and Member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She responded to a radio ad from Moscow’s Narodny Bank for a free trip to space, along with 13,000 other British citizens. She was selected because of her qualifications in chemistry. In May 1991, she spent eight days in orbit on the Mir space station as part of Project Juno, an effort to normalize relations between Britain and the Soviet Union. The cost was $10 million.

These names are so often overlooked, and according to UNM Emeritus Professor Dirk Duran-Gibson the first golden age of space tourism is long forgotten.

Dirk Duran-Gibson, professor emeritus at UNM

“X-Space. Galactic Virgo. Blue Origin. Names that are familiar to us all,” Duran-Gibson said. “But what about Armadillo Aerospace, Bigelow Aerospace, Eads Astrium, XCore Aerospace, UP Aerospace and the Transformational Space Corporation, known as tSpace More than 100 companies have announced plans to join the civilian space race, but few have survived.

He argues that most people have forgotten about the first cohort of civilian space tourism proponents, such as the Space Enterprise Council, Space Frontier Foundation, Space Access Society, Space Tourism Society, Personal Spaceflight Industry, and the International Association of Space Entrepreneurs. more than 100 such organizations. According to Duran-Gibson, some are still active.

Over the past few years, the world has celebrated a trio of citizen journeys into Earth’s atmosphere. Space is a very dangerous environment and a difficult place as a travel destination. These recent “astronauts” are brave individuals, but Duran-Gibson argues that they can hardly be considered the first citizens of space.

Duran-Gibson says one of the most essential questions remains unanswered, what is considered citizen spaceflight.

“Believe it or not, there is uncertainty about the exact meaning of citizen space travel,” he said. “Is it enough to rise high in the Earth’s atmosphere? And there are different ideas about where outer space begins. Another factor is that some space authorities define citizen space travel as including only travel paid for by the space traveler. The most restrictive definition of space tourism is that the sole purpose of travel is recreational and the travel must be paid for by the space traveler.

The first space tourists
Dennis Tito was the first space tourist to pay for his own trip, a mere $20 million, in 2001. The American businessman spent his time in the international space station enjoying microgravity, music and photography. Upon his return to Earth, the mayor of Los Angeles held a press conference in his honor.

Others who followed:

2002 | Mark Shuttleworth
2005 | Gregory Olsen
2006 | Anousheh Ansari
2007 & 2009 | Charles Simonyi
2008 | Richard Garriott
2009 | Guy Laliberte

Simonyi has been to space twice, in two years, spending a total of 25 days in space. This Hungarian-American software developer built the first version of Microsoft Office and was worth $5.5 billion in 2022. His two trips cost $55 million. At the age of 13, he was selected to be Hungary’s junior astronaut. He carefully documented both trips on his missions website.

“We can and must learn from the relevant past,” Duran-Gibson said. “Citizen access to space is extremely important as a tourism niche and, more importantly, for the future of humanity. If we don’t take strong steps to create off-planet capability in terms of infrastructure, operational experience, public-private partnerships, international coalition building and technological innovation, the human race will perish with our planet.

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UK’s $2.5bn research targets space sensors and hypersonic technology https://jenam2011.org/uks-2-5bn-research-targets-space-sensors-and-hypersonic-technology/ Tue, 07 Jun 2022 18:11:11 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/uks-2-5bn-research-targets-space-sensors-and-hypersonic-technology/

LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defense has identified a series of key future technologies in which it plans to invest $2.5 billion over the next four years, officials said June 7.

The program, called the Science & Technology Portfolio, will aim to support the development of critical future military capabilities beyond the next generation, the Department of Defense said in a statement. Efforts include the development of a hypersonic weapon demonstrator, new space capabilities, expanded research into artificial intelligence, advanced materials and nuclear submarine systems.

The government has said it will spend £2bn by 2026 as part of its total £6.6bn ($8.3bn) research and development budget set out in the strategic review of 2021.

The British military’s research arm, the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, or Dstl, released its list of priorities for the spending plan earlier this week. It includes information on 25 portfolio programs that are expected to attract significant funding and collaboration opportunities for industry and academia.

“Notably, this portfolio emphasizes science and technology toward key capability challenges and high-risk, generation-after-next research in emerging and poorly understood technologies,” reads a statement from Dstl.

Defense officials pointed to a collaborative space program Dstl is conducting with the US Naval Research Laboratory to illustrate its ambitions for the portfolio approach.

The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) — a suite of miniature space weather sensors aboard two cereal box-sized satellites — is set to launch later this year.

The mission will see three British-developed sensors, as well as sensors supplied by NRL, installed on two Blue Canyon Technologies 6U satellites to collect space weather data.

The two Project CIRCE satellites are set to be launched alongside other payloads from a Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket mounted on the wing of a Boeing 747-400.

It would be the first ever satellite launch undertaken from the UK

The plane will likely be piloted by Royal Air Force Pilot Squadron Leader Matthew Stannard, who once served on a Virgin Orbit mission launching satellites from a base in California earlier this year.

The British miniature sensors were developed for Dstl by University College London, the University of Bath and Surrey Satellite Technology.

The sensor arrays will monitor changes in the ionosphere – a layer of Earth’s atmosphere about 30 to 600 miles above the surface – where variations in the environment can interfere with the operation of GPS, communications and detection technology.

Andrew Chuter is the UK correspondent for Defense News.

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Virgin Orbit launched its “Straight Up” launch with six crew on board – SatNews https://jenam2011.org/virgin-orbit-launched-its-straight-up-launch-with-six-crew-on-board-satnews/ Sat, 04 Jun 2022 15:45:00 +0000 https://jenam2011.org/virgin-orbit-launched-its-straight-up-launch-with-six-crew-on-board-satnews/
The launch of Blue Origin’s NS-21 manned flight.

On Saturday June 4, Blue Origin successfully performed its fifth manned flight and the 21st flight for the New Shepard program.

The astronaut crew included: Evan Dick, Katia Echazarreta, Hamish Harding, Victor Correa Hespanha, Jaison Robinsonand Victor Vescovo.

The crew of the New Shepard NS-21. Pictured, left to right: Victor Vescovo, Victor Correa Hespanha, Katya Echazarreta, Jaison Robinson, Hamish Harding and Evan Dick.

It was an honor to pilot this special crew of explorers and true pioneers today,” said Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President, New Shepard. “Thank you to the entire New Shepard team for your tireless work and dedication to this program. Each mission is an opportunity to give six others the life-changing experience of witnessing the beauty and fragility of our planet from space. It’s a step towards realizing our vision of millions living and working in space for the benefit of Earth..”

Original posting of pre-flight news…

pristine orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) has entered flight readiness mode for the company’s next launch, Directlywho will support the United States Space Force’Mission STP-28A. After leaving Virgin Orbit’s Long Beach Rocket Factory on Thursday, April 28, 2022, the rocket arrived at the Mojave Air and Space Port. He will support the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) and will carry payloads for the defense department (DoD) Space test program (PLS).

Integration testing with aircraft and ground equipment will take place, followed by a full launch rehearsal and final docking to the custom 747 that serves as Virgin Orbit’s flying, fully reusable launch pad and mobile mission control room. Launch is slated for June 29 at the earliest.. The launch window is expected to open at 8 p.m. local time, which marks the first night mission for the responsive launch company. The target orbit is approximately 500 km above the Earth’s surface at an inclination of 45 degrees – an orbit no other system has reached from the west coast.

Playing a key role in the launch of Straight Up will be the National systems in virgin orbit team, which developed and provided services to the national security community, focused on defending and protecting the United States and its allies through Virgin Orbit’s responsive space capabilities. To date, Virgin Orbit has launched three consecutive successful launches, including eight DoD Science and Technology demonstrations on two flights.

Virgin Orbit has been soaring ‘straight’ since we began commercial launch operations 18 months ago“said the CEO of Virgin Orbit, Dan Hart. “Increasingly, we are seeing the importance of space to the security of the United States and allied nations. We are honored and committed to supporting Space Force at this critical time..”

Marc Bairdpresident of the new National systems in virgin orbit (Previously VOX space) added, “We believe this launch will demonstrate the significant maturation and operationalization of a unique capability. I’m glad to see straight up, wheels up.”

The US Space Force procured this launch for the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP), with payloads provided by the DoD Space Test Program (PLS). The launch will carry seven satellites from multiple government agencies that are experiments intended to demonstrate new modular satellite bus, space domain awareness and adaptive radio frequency technologies. The Straight Up launch will support the United States Space Force’s STP-28A mission. The STP-28A launch contract was awarded to Virgin Orbit National Systems in April 2020 by the United States Space Force.

The company’s fully mobile LauncherOne system will perform the flight from what is currently a bare concrete slab at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The target orbit is about 500 km. above the Earth’s surface at a 45 degree inclination

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