Rocket Report: SpaceX’s South Texas resort, the Air Force makes its picks

Enlarge / The Space Launch System rocket core stage is shown installed on the top left side of the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. (credit: NASA) Welcome to Edition 3.12 of the Rocket Report! We got plenty of serious news this week about rockets big and small. But our best story is a fun one, all the way from the Atlai Mountains in Siberia where SpaceX founder Elon Musk has a big fan in the clergy, apparently. As always, we … [Read more...]

Will any new smallsat rockets make it to orbit this year?

Enlarge / After being released from Cosmic Girl, LauncherOne ignited its engine successfully at the end of May. (credit: VirginOrbit) In case you hadn't noticed, we're approaching mid-August. As of Wednesday, there are a mere 142 days left in the year. So as the calendar churns toward the end of the year, this is a good time to ask whether any new commercial rockets that launch small satellites will make it to orbit this year. Back at the … [Read more...]

Russia’s space leader blusters about Mars in the face of stiff budget cuts

Enlarge / Dmitry Rogozin, director of the Roscosmos State Corporation, gives an open lecture titled "Transformation of Roscosmos" at Moscow State University on May 23, 2019. (credit: Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images) The leader of Russia's civil space program appears to be increasingly disengaged from reality. In recent months Dmitry Rogozin, the chief of Roscosmos, has given a series of interviews in which he has made all manner of big … [Read more...]

In a consequential decision, Air Force picks its rockets for mid-2020s launches

Enlarge / Artist's rendering of a Vulcan-Centaur rocket launch. (credit: United Launch Alliance) On Friday afternoon, the US Air Force answered one of the big questions that had been hanging over the US launch industry for more than a year—which two companies will be selected to compete for national security launch contracts from 2022 to 2026? During a video call with reporters, William Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for … [Read more...]

Rocket Report: South Korea’s SpaceX dilemma, Rocket Lab finds a quick fix

Enlarge / An overview of Astra's picturesque launch site for Rocket 3.1. (credit: John Kraus for Astra) Welcome to Edition 3.11 of the Rocket Report! A lot of the most interesting news this week came in the world of small launch, with Electron announcing a quick return to flight as well as boosting the capacity of its Electron booster. We were also surprised to see such a robust fundraising effort by ABL Space Systems. As always, we welcome … [Read more...]

An early version of Starship takes its first, tentative steps off Earth

Ignition! [credit: Trevor Mahlmann ] Just so we're clear about this, SpaceX built a Mars rocket out of rolls of steel. In tents. In South Texas.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments … [Read more...]