Welcome to Rocket Report 5.16! If you’re counting, there are now less than 60 days until the end of 2022. How many more US rockets will debut before the end of the year? SLS? Terran 1? Very heavy? RS1? None of these answers? You didn’t ask, but my over/under would be 1.5 of the above, and maybe that’s a little optimistic.
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 contain information on small, medium and heavy transport rockets, as well as a quick overview of the next three launches on the schedule.
Rocket Lab will once again attempt to recover the booster. The US-based rocket company said it would make a second in-flight recovery attempt of an Electron thruster during the launch of a Swedish science satellite on Friday, Space News reports. This “Catch Me If You Can” mission is set to launch Nov. 4 at 1:15 p.m. ET (17:15 UTC) from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The launch will be Rocket Lab’s second attempt to recover the Electron’s first stage, descending under a parachute using a helicopter.
Good hunt! … On the first attempt, on May 2, a hook hanging from the helicopter caught the parachute, but the pilot released it moments later after noticing what the company called “loading characteristics different from those we experienced during the tests”. The scene instead splashed and was picked up by a boat. “Our first helicopter capture just a few months ago proved that we could do what we set out to do with Electron, and we look forward to bringing the helicopter back to market and improving the reusability even further. our rocket by bringing back a dry stage for the first time,” Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, said in a statement regarding the upcoming launch. (submitted by Ken the Bin and Tfargo04)
Firefly looking for additional capital. Fresh off the orbit of its first Alpha rocket, Firefly Aerospace is seeking to raise up to $300 million in a private fundraiser, reports Reuters. The Texas-based company was valued at more than $1 billion when private equity firm AE Industrial Partners became its majority shareholder in March, but it did not set a valuation for this round.
How much money is there? … The new funding would be used to help complete construction of Firefly’s Alpha rocket manufacturing facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and accelerate development of a medium-lift rocket the company plans to build with Northrop Grumman. Given the challenges of raising new capital for space ventures in the current environment, it will be interesting to see how far Firefly can draw. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Residents respond to Canadian engine trials. Trent Hills, an Ontario municipality halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, has asked Canadian launch company SpaceRyde to halt rocket engine testing. “Trent Hills has received numerous inquiries, concerns and complaints regarding rocket motor testing taking place in the rural area at a site on County Road 29,” Trent Hills Now reported. On October 7, the local government asked SpaceRyde to voluntarily stop testing.
Maybe they can get away with it? … The company has until the end of the month to respond. Some locals want nothing to do with SpaceRyde, which aims to develop a rocket to be launched from a balloon. The municipality, however, said it would be willing to work with the rocket company: “If there remains a desire to continue use, the municipality has a range of options both to engage with the owner and occupier of the site and to address public concerns. (submitted by JC)
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