SpaceX launched one of its reusable Falcon 9 rocket boosters for the last time Saturday on a rare expendable mission for Intelsat, devoting all of the launcher’s propellant toward placing a pair of television broadcasting satellites into orbit. Intelsat says it paid SpaceX an additional fee for the expendable mission.
Europe’s bid to deliver a return-to-Earth service for in-orbit transportation and research projects is rapidly taking shape, with teams working on the Space Rider spacecraft gearing up for a series of drop tests in 2023. Drop tests with small-scale models will be followed by a full-scale test in anticipation of inaugural flight towards the end of 2024. Engineering teams recently concluded the project’s critical design review and expect to consolidate the design early in 2023.
Virgin Orbit ready for historic UK launch after spaceport secures license
Spaceport Cornwall received a license from the U.K. national regulator, clearing the way for the first orbital launch from British soil.
The U.K. has ambitions to become a major player in the small satellite launch market. Two other sites are now waiting for approval to launch small vertical rockets, one located on the northern coast of Scotland and the other on the Shetland Islands off the Scottish coast. Two U.K.-based companies, Orbex and Skyrora, are currently finalizing developments of their small satellite launchers, hoping to perform debut flights next year.
NASA’s huge Space Launch System moon rocket finally took off from Florida early Wednesday after a decade in development, sending an unpiloted Orion crew capsule toward lunar orbit on a 25-day test flight to lay a path for astronauts to return to the moon for the first time since 1972.
The first privately developed Indian rocket lifted off into the upper reaches of the atmosphere on Friday, in another milestone in the country’s push to become a major space power.
Space Safety News
Micrometeoroid strikes are an unavoidable aspect of operating any spacecraft. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was engineered to withstand continual bombardment from these dust-sized particles . We have experienced 14 measurable micrometeoroid hits on our primary mirror, and are averaging one to two per month, as anticipated. The resulting optical errors from all but one of these were well within what we had budgeted and expected
Science &Technology News
The James Webb Space Telescope has spotted a remote galaxy shining just 350 million years after the birth of the cosmos 13.8 billion years ago, surprising astronomers who are struggling to figure out how stars and galaxies could have formed so rapidly in the wake of the Big Bang, researchers said Thursday.