Welcome to Rocket Report 5.15! We’re back with the usual rocket news about launch delays and fundraising for companies on their way to orbit. Speaking of raises, is it really possible that the Vector Launch could be made from the dead? Read on to find out.
As usual we Reader requests are welcomeAnd if you don’t want to miss any issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy missiles as well as a quick look at the next three launches in the calendar.
Terran 1 launch may start in 2023. Relativity Space recently completed the first stage of a hot-fire test of the Terran 1 missile, and engineers and technicians are now connecting the second stage to the missile. In a few weeks, the completed craft will blast off to Launch Complex-16 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida for a static test-fire, and assuming that goes well, the launch attempt, Ars . reports. “We’re confident in our technology readiness for launch this year, and we’re still on track for that,” Tim Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space, said in an interview with Ars.
There is always but …But there are some external factors as the end of the year approaches that could affect the schedule for us. It’s not a guarantee, but it can happen.” These external factors include other space port users in Florida, including uncertainty about NASA’s Space Launch System rocket launch in mid-November and blackout periods as part of the holiday airspace launch plan. This effectively prevents launches around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years due to the high volume of flights.
Canadian Rocket Race Tracking. Much and more has been written in this newsletter about the development of commercial launches in the US, China, Europe and India. But what about Canada? It turns out that there are at least five Canada-based companies working to develop a domestic commercial launch capacity. These companies are summarized in New article in SpaceQWhich is (unfortunately) behind the paywall. Most companies are working towards the launch target of Spaceport Nova Scotia, which is still under development.
Big ideas, small loads … The five companies are headquartered in Calgary (AVRO Aerospace), Toronto (C6 Launch Systems, Nordspace and SpaceRyde) and Montreal (Reaction Dynamics). They are all planning some variation of a small satellite launch vehicle, with some ideas more radical than others – for example, SpaceRyde’s balloon-based launch concept. I’m not familiar enough to comment on the viability of any of these companies, but a small launch is a tricky business. However, if CSA starts offering and awarding contracts, it will help us distinguish who is legal and who is not.
Orbex raises $45.8 million in new funding. Scotland-based Orbex announced earlier this month that it had raised 40.4 million pounds ($45.8 million) in a Series C round led by the Scottish National Investment Bank, a new investor in the company, Space news reports. Orbex is developing Prime, a small launch vehicle designed to put up to 180kg into low Earth orbit. The car, which the company built at a factory in Forres, Scotland, will initially be launched from Space Hub Sutherland, a new launch site under development in northern Scotland.
Peak time in 2023? … Orbex previously raised $24 million in December 2020 and $39 million in July 2018. The company also won €7.45 million from the European Space Agency in March 2021 as part of the agency’s promotion! Program to support the development of the new launch vehicle. The company says it is targeting the first launch of its Prime rocket next year, and is working towards its “long-term goal of creating a reliable, economically successful and environmentally sustainable European space launch company.” (Provided by Ken Ben and Elpitia)
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