Welcome to version 5.21 of Rocket Report. This is the last edition of Rocket Report for 2022. I will be taking about 10 days off for the holiday season this year, so my next newsletter won’t be published until January 5th. What’s the good news? Ars and I have big things planned to cover space in 2023, so stay tuned for announcements about that. In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a fun holiday season!
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please sign up 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 in the calendar.
It’s almost time to charge up for the electron. After more than two years of delays, NASA and the Rocket Lab are finally ready to conduct the first electron launch from Wallops Island in Virginia on Friday, Space News reports. The reason for the latest delay was the bad weather forecast for Thursday, and then the need for it Close final documents. The launch is scheduled to take place no later than Sunday, December 18th. The mission will put into orbit three HawkEye 360 satellites, which operate a constellation of radio frequency monitoring spacecraft.
Anyway, what does the F stand for in FTS? … The main reason for the delay was the new autonomous flight termination system required to launch the electron from Wallops. The final safety certification for NASA’s so-called autonomous flight termination unit was originally scheduled in time to support the mid-2020 first launch of Launch Complex-2, said David Pierce, manager of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. But during the final checks of the program, the engineers discovered several errors in the code. Ultimately, Rocket Lab wants to launch the neutron rocket from Virginia. (Submitted by Ken Penn)
Who is ready for Blue Origin Space Rangers? Variety reports that a production company co-founded by Michael Strahan, who traveled to space on New Shepard in December 2021, is working with Blue Origin to develop an animated space adventure series for kids. It will be called “Blue Origin Space Rangers”. Stop laughing. I’m serious here.
Coming soon to Amazon Prime? … The show will include appearances by animator Jeff Bezos as well as Strahan, the former NFL star. That might make it worth going through at least once. According to the producers, the show will “create multiple touchpoints for children and families to explore and learn and offer a one-of-a-kind space experience.” I’ll try to be positive and say it’s great trying to get kids interested in STEM. But I certainly hope this isn’t a distraction from all the other work on the Blue Origin board.
After another delay, the ABL slides into January. At the beginning of this month, ABL Space Systems presented a Clear and detailed update On its multiple attempts to launch the RS1 from Kodiak, Alaska. (This kind of transparency is greatly appreciated.) Then, on December 8, the company tried again, only to have it monitor for “unexpected electrical interference in our avionics system” shortly before the attempted launch.
time required for repairs … “The problem was only demonstrated during direct drive runs, not dry vehicle testing or in a lab. This indicates a thermoelectric or thermomechanical root cause,” the company says. on Twitter. “The team is implementing fixes and working on a launch attempt during the next launch window which opens January 9th.” Good luck to ABL as they continue to push towards the debut of the RS1.
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