Welcome to Rocket Report version 5.04! Be sure to read to the end, because most of this week’s news is about heavy missiles, or at the very least suggestion heavy missile Also, there will be no newsletter next week as I will be spending time with family. But then I’ll be back in the saddle for the rest of the summer and fall, which promises to be full of expensive rocket launches.
As always we welcome reader offers, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please sign up using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy missiles as well as a quick overview of the next three launches on schedule.
ISRAEL AEROSPACE LEAVES FRENCH GUIANA. The Germany-based startup announced Thursday that it will conduct commercial and institutional launches from the European Spaceport in French Guiana starting in 2024. In what seems like a great move, Isar has been selected for this opportunity by the French space agency CNES. Launch the complex near the equator to launch at Diamond. Issa is also building a spaceport in Andoa, Norway, for the small Spectrum launch vehicle.
Compete with other small launchers “With the addition of Coro, we will expand our global critical infrastructure network and gain flexibility for our customers,” said Joseph Fleissmann, COO and co-founder of Isar Aerospace. “Building more launch and deployment capacity is a cornerstone for entering the global satellite launch market. Isar will compete with companies such as Relativity Space, ABL Space Systems and Firefly for commercial payloads in the 1-ton class. (provided by Ken Ben)
Firefly is preparing for a second alpha launch. Firefly Aerospace is preparing for a second launch of its Alpha rocket in late August or early September, Space reports. “Our goal is within the next 45 to 60 days to be able to launch,” Firefly interim CEO Peter Schumacher told the publication. “It’s really pending, at this point, the availability of opportunities. He said the missile itself was ready to fly except for a rehearsal and static firing test, which he said would be completed within two weeks of the launch.
Missile debris modeling … The company is awaiting a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is contingent on approval of a new debris model of the missile. The modified debris model came after the first Alpha missile exploded in flight when the scope activated the flight termination system. Debris from the rocket, mostly made of carbon composite material, fell out of reach, including nearby communities, although no damage was reported. (Provided by EllPeaTea and Ken the Bean)
Electron release was delayed due to a payload problem. The National Reconnaissance Office’s next Rocket Lab mission — the second of two consecutive launches by the US spy satellite agency — has been postponed to complete a software update to the classified payload, Spaceflight Now reports. The mission, called NROL-199, was scheduled to launch Friday from New Zealand’s Rocket Lab port, and the company was scheduled to launch two Electrons within nine days.
Where will the NRO go? … Earlier, Rocket Lab launched mission NROL-162 on July 13. Once software updates are implemented, NRO and Rocket Lab will provide a new release date for NROL-199. Payloads are rated like most NRO satellites. It will operate in low Earth orbit, but the altitude and inclination of the target orbit have not been disclosed. (provided by Ken Ben)