A sampling of recent articles, videos, and images dealing with space transport:
[ Update June.12.2019: The launch and deployment of the three RadarSat Constellation spacecraft were successful. Also, the booster landed safely back at Vandenberg AFB, which was fogged in during both the launch and landing.
We are excited to announce that three #RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellites developed by @MDA_maxar for the @csa_asc are performing according to plan & have began sending & receiving signals from space, after a successful @SpaceX launch this morning. https://t.co/b5Lv2L2bFM
— Maxar Technologies (@Maxar) June 12, 2019
** SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch with 3 RadarSat Constellation spacecraft on Wednesday during the window 7:17-7:30 am PDT (10:17-10:30 am EDT; 1417-1430 GMT) from Vandenberg AFB in California. The SpaceX webcast will start about 15 minutes before liftoff. Info on the mission is provide by the SpaceX RadarSat launch press kit.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 11, 2019
More below in the SpaceX section.
** Relativity Space will 3D print and assemble rockets at Mississippi factory:
- Relativity builds new autonomous rocket factory and expands testing facilities at Stennis Space Center – MDA
- Where will the world’s first autonomous rocket factory be built? Mississippi | Ars Technica
Aerospace company Relativity is expanding its rocket component production and rocket engine testing operations at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. The project is a $59-million corporate investment and will create 190 jobs, increasing employment at Relativity’s Stennis Space Center site to 200 workers.
With this expansion, Relativity is increasing infrastructure to more than 350,000 square feet of operations, production, testing and launch facilities. In the past year, the company has increased its employment from 14 to 90 workers. Relativity became the first venture-backed company to secure a launch site Right of Entry at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex-16 from the U.S. Air Force and has a 20-year exclusive-use Commercial Space Launch Act agreement at Stennis Space Center’s E4 test complex, as well as membership on the National Space Council advising the White House.
Relativity will activate its manufacturing equipment in July and plans to complete development of the world’s first 3D-printed rocket, Terran 1, in 2020. The company is on track to conduct its first orbital test launch at the end of 2020 and enter commercial service in 2021.
Check out the wing for the next spaceship!
First, the team positioned the wing skins. Next, they placed the wing structure on top of the skins to create consistent pressure while bonding. Once the bond was complete, the wing moved to a new fixture for systems integration. pic.twitter.com/cmDZ2mnE5F
— TheSpaceshipCompany (@TheSpaceshipCo) June 7, 2019
** An Embry-Riddle student team fires a liquid-fueled rocket engine, which they designed and built:
90 days from the conex arriving to hot-fire. This liquid rocket engine and test cell was completely designed, built, and tested by 7 undergraduates in less than 2 semesters. pic.twitter.com/9CzhJedQRl
— ERAUPrescottRDL (@ERAUPrescottRDL) April 24, 2019
** The Stanford Student Space Initiative (SSI) also fires a liquid fueled engine that they designed and built:
Check out the first static fire of our new liquid rocket motor! Thank you to our sponsor @Protolabs for the custom metal 3D printed injector that made it possible and apologies to those on campus who were woken up during finals! pic.twitter.com/jvIleClZv4
— Stanford SSI (@StanfordSSI) June 10, 2019
The company had a successful fund-raising round earlier this year: Equatorial Space Industries Secures Angel Funding – SpaceWatch.Global. The unspecified amount of money will
… support development of ESI’s upcoming suborbital SHARP (Suborbital Hybrid Ascent and Recovery Program) vehicle slated to fly in early 2020. The vehicle’s engine will use liquid Nitrous Oxide as compared Liquid Oxygen used in the previous v.2.2 Engine ground prototype, and will be capable of in-flight restartability.
The location of the test flight, as well as cooperation and arrangements with local suppliers and authorities, will be revealed in the next few months. ESI’s Volans microlauncher is expected to conduct its first test flight in 2021 from a yet-to-be determined location in the APAC region.
- Rocket Report: A Yellow Sea launch, SpaceX’s upcoming high-value mission | Ars Technica
- Racer and rocketeer Jimmy Shane shows off Blue Origin’s crew capsule – GeekWire
- Episode T+123: The Noosphere of Influence – Main Engine Cut Off – “NASA made a series of announcements about their ISS commercialization effort and the first Commercial Lunar Payload Services missions, and Firefly unveiled their Orbital Transfer Vehicle. And there’s a really interesting connection between all three stories.“
*** Falcon 9 booster will attempt to land back at Vandenberg after liftoff with the 3 RadarSat Constellation spacecraft:
- Falcon 9 Launch Confirmed, Sonic Boom Possible – Vandenberg Air Force Base
- When is Vandenberg CA SpaceX rocket launch scheduled? | San Luis Obispo Tribune
The booster, which will be on its second flight, was test fired on the VAFB pad last Saturday: SpaceX static fires Falcon 9 for West Coast pad’s second booster landing ever – Teslarati
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 8, 2019
*** SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of USAF STP-2 mission now set for the evening of June 24th from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center sometime between 11:30 pm-3:30 am EDT (0330-0730 GMT on 25th). This will be the 3rd launch of the FH and will carry 24 different satellites, most of which were funded by the USAF but also includes satellites from NASA, NOAA, and several universities.
- STP-2 Mission | SpaceX
- SpaceX and DoD Targeting June 24 for Falcon Heavy Launch – SpaceX/NASA
- First Falcon Heavy night launch slips to June 24 – Spaceflight Now
- NASA highlights payloads on next Falcon Heavy; LZ-1 cleared for normal operations – NASASpaceFlight.com
The Planetary Society will also be flying the LightSail 2 solar light powered vehicle on the FH: LightSail 2 Has a New Launch Date! – The Planetary Society
*** SpaceX raises funding for new projects: SpaceX worth $33B after raising more than $1B for Starlink and Starship – Teslarati
Since April 2018, SpaceX has successfully raised more than $1.24 billion through the sale of equity, likely sold to investors by extrapolating the company’s current record of success to include the potential of its next two products, Starlink and Starship.
Thanks to SpaceX’s successful streak of fundraising, the company is now valued at $33.3 billion according to sources that spoke with CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz. The same source indicated that demand for SpaceX equity remains strong as the company seeks to continue extremely expensive development and production programs. Most notably, SpaceX is simultaneously building two full-scale orbital Starship prototypes at separate facilities in Texas and Florida, readying an earlier Starhopper testbed for serious test flights, and is in the midst of ramping up its Starlink satellite production to levels unprecedented in the history of spaceflight.
*** Starhopper still waiting for the Raptor engine that will power its low altitude test flights: SpaceX testing rescheduled – Brownsville Herald
According to the notice, State Highway 4 to Boca Chica Beach is scheduled to close from 2 to 8 p.m. on June 17 and/or in the alternative during the same time period on June 18 and/or June 19.
*** Views of Starhopper and Starship Orbital demo vehicle activities recently at the Boca Chica Beach, Texas facilities:
The crews at #SpaceX are enjoying a well deserved day of rest, it seems. #StarHopper has been re-tethered to the launch site for the upcoming tests. #StarShip is looking extra shiny today, progress on the wind/ tourist barrier. There’s this New cement foundation, left side of pad pic.twitter.com/AjehVbnyQ0
— Austin Barnard🚀 (@austinbarnard45) June 9, 2019
— Pauline Acalin (@w00ki33) June 9, 2019
— Pauline Acalin (@w00ki33) June 9, 2019
The road to Mars. A few images from visiting SpaceX’s Starship / Starhopper facilities. Love the passion and energy here. #spacex #starship #starhopper #texasspacecoast #texas @Teslarati pic.twitter.com/eo6GXdaP5M
— TomCross (@_TomCross_) June 8, 2019
*** And some photos of the second Starship demonstrator under construction in Cocoa Beach, Florida: