Welcome to Version 5.12 of Rocket News! According to some late breaking news, Firefly attempted its second orbital launch with an Alpha rocket early Friday, at 3 am EST (07:00 UTC) from California. However in the final moments before the vehicle was moved into “auto shift” after an engine fire. Firefly is reviewing the data from the scrub to determine its next move.
As always, we Welcome RSS feed, and if you don’t want to miss a problem, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium, and heavy rockets, as well as a quick look at the next three launches on the calendar.
Virgin Orbit faces “difficult” licensing in Britain. The next launch of the rocket Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, which sold its engines after being dropped from the carrier plane, is due to take place no earlier than October 29 from Spaceport Cornwall in southwest England. News in Cornwall Live said that the launch window that opened at the end of October is possible for several weeks and the company still aims to launch during the fourth quarter of this year. During a Cornwall Council meeting earlier this month, Louis Gardner, cabinet member for the economy, provided details about the licensing issues he is still working through.
Quite a trick … “The problem with this right now is the number of companies that are in the license,” Gardner said. “You’ve got the UK Space Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority, and other players who are all part of that. What the team is doing is fighting through what’s going to be different between that first launch and the big security basket.” great. that’s 1,250 feet from the plane, wherever you are, going as you go down the runway, to the next launches and how best to prepare for that. It’s a book -very tricky command on this one.” (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Astra will no longer launch TROPICS satellites. The most recent—and, as it turns out, final—launch attempt by Astra’s Rocket 3.3 vehicle ended with an upper stage failure that led to the loss of two small TROPICS satellites for NASA in June. Astra was contracted to launch four remaining TROPICS satellites before the failure of Rocket 3.3 and the company’s subsequent pivot to a larger booster, Rocket 4.0. Now, that won’t happen, Astra said on Wednesday.
NASA satellites to be named later … “Astra and NASA have agreed to modify the terms of the existing launch services agreement for NASA’s TROPICS mission to allow for future launches of parallel scientific payloads on version 4.0 of Astra’s rocket. We are pleased to maintain our strong partnership and have NASA as a launch customer on the next version of the Astra rocket.” It is unclear what commercial rocket NASA will use to get its TROPIC cubes into orbit. (submitted by Ken the Bin)