Hello and welcome back to Max Q! Last week wasn’t the most successful week for space missions. We will discuss this further below.
in this problem:
- First, a botched launch by Virgin Orbit…
- …followed by ABL Space Systems
- News from Rocket Lab, World View, and more
After a failed Virgin Orbit launch last Monday, the mission suffered “abnormal” Preventing the rocket from reaching orbit, I reviewed the company’s financials — and things didn’t look good.
For Virgin Orbit, this year may have turned upside down. The company aims to launch three products this year, but until the cause of the anomaly is identified and resolved, all will be grounded. It’s unclear how long this will take, but it could be at least three months. Add that delay to Virgin’s dwindling cash reserves, and you’re suddenly on a less stable footing than before.
start start ABL Space Systems’ The first orbital launch attempt failed last Tuesday after all nine engines of the RS1 rocket’s first stage shut down simultaneously. The rocket then hit the launch pad and was destroyed on impact.
ABL President Dan Piemont told TechCrunch that while the investigation into the failure is still in its early stages, “the simultaneous shutdown is a strong case, but the team needs more time to narrow down the contributing factors and the root cause.”
“The Flight 2 vehicle is fully assembled and ready to begin its flight activities, so we are trying to do that as soon as the Flight 1 investigation is complete,” Piemont said.
More news from TC and beyond
- Capella Space It added $60 million in growth equity financing to its Series C through investor Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology Fund. (Capella)
- Elon Musk Said SpaceX to attempt the first orbital flight test of the Starship spacecraft as early as next month. (Twitter)
- European The first spaceport on mainland Sweden has been inaugurated by Swedish dignitaries and other officials. (high north)
- spatial The HAKUTO-R lander has completed its second orbital control maneuver and has been in deep space for over a month now. (space)
- Iseral’s The Air Force will create its own “Space Administration,” similar to the U.S. Space Force. (i24)
- planet lab Completed acquisition of climate technology company Salo Sciences. (planet)
- augsburg rocket factory SaxaVord Spaceport and the UK have signed a multi-year launch agreement that includes RFA’s first launch from the site as early as the end of this year. (Radiofrequency ablation)
- rocket lab The goal now is for the first Electron launch from Virginia on January 23. The launch will carry three satellites for HawkEye 360. (rocket lab)
- Russia An uncrewed Soyuz capsule will be sent to the International Space Station to bring three astronauts back to Earth after a coolant leak was discovered on a Soyuz spacecraft currently attached to the International Space Station. (New York Times)
- Slingshot Aerospace Thomas Arend, most recently Astra’s vice president and head of product management, has been hired as its new chief product officer. (slingshot)
- Federal Communications Commission Voted to create a whole new space agency that would handle everything to do with satellite communications and more. (technology crisis)
- US Air Force Research Laboratory and SpaceWERX are supporting a Space Regulatory Bootcamp for founders and regulatory professionals seeking guidance on navigating the complex world of space governance. Training camp will be held in February. (ACSP)
- United Launch Alliance The Vulcan Centaur rocket begins its journey to the launch pad ahead of its first test flight. (United Laboratories Alliance)
- world view, a startup using stratospheric balloons for Earth observation (soon…tourism?!) is going public through a SPAC merger. (technology crisis)
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