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      Blue Origin joins SpaceX and ULA in new round of military launch contracts

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 14 June - 23:19

    Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket on the launch pad for testing earlier this year.

    Enlarge / Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket on the launch pad for testing earlier this year. (credit: Blue Origin )

    After years of lobbying, protests and bidding, Jeff Bezos's space company is now a military launch contractor.

    The US Space Force announced Thursday that Blue Origin will compete with United Launch Alliance and SpaceX for at least 30 military launch contracts over the next five years. These launch contracts have a combined value of up to $5.6 billion.

    This is the first of two major contract decisions the Space Force will make this year as the military seeks to foster more competition among its roster of launch providers, and reduce its reliance on just one or two companies.

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      Rocket Report: Starbase comes alive again; China launches four times

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 28 July, 2023 - 11:00 · 1 minute

    The Super Heavy booster for SpaceX's next Starship test flight is raised onto its launch mount at the Starbase facility in South Texas.

    Enlarge / The Super Heavy booster for SpaceX's next Starship test flight is raised onto its launch mount at the Starbase facility in South Texas. (credit: SpaceX )

    Welcome to Edition 6.04 of the Rocket Report! SpaceX has a Super Heavy booster on the launch pad in Texas a lot sooner than many thought. There was some pretty extensive damage at the launch site in the aftermath of the Starship test launch in April, SpaceX made quick work with repairs and upgrades to beef up the pad. Meanwhile, SpaceX's Falcon 9 launcher, Rocket Lab's Electron, and China's rocket fleet show no signs of slowing down.

    As always, we welcome reader submissions , and if you don't want to miss an 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-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

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    China's Galactic Energy launches sixth successful mission . Galactic Energy, one of several new Chinese startup launch companies, launched its sixth consecutive successful satellite delivery mission on July 22, Space News reports . The company's solid-fueled Ceres 1 rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan launch base in the Gobi Desert with two small satellites on board. Galactic Energy is also developing a medium-lift rocket named Pallas 1 that is designed to eventually be recoverable and reusable.

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      ULA continues investigation of Centaur stage “anomaly”

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 7 April, 2023 - 18:27

    ULA stacks its Centaur V upper stage onto the first flight version of the Vulcan rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

    Enlarge / ULA stacks its Centaur V upper stage onto the first flight version of the Vulcan rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. (credit: ULA)

    On the evening of March 29, at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, United Launch Alliance started pressurizing the upper stage of its new Vulcan rocket. But then, suddenly, something went wrong with this Centaur upper stage.

    Shortly after the incident, to his credit, the chief executive of United Launch Alliance, Tory Bruno, was quick to acknowledge on Twitter that something had happened: "Keeping you posted: During Qual testing of Centaur V structural article at MSFC, the hardware experienced an anomaly."

    Unpacking this tweet a little bit, Bruno is saying that during qualification testing—the process of testing rocket engines and stages on the ground to determine their behavior during flight-like conditions—the Centaur stage had a problem. More than a week later, however, there are more questions than answers about the accident.

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      Dream Chaser is delayed again, raising questions about Vulcan launch plans

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 24 March, 2023 - 13:40

    United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, without its payload, rolls to the launch pad for tests on March 9, 2023.

    Enlarge / United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, without its payload, rolls to the launch pad for tests on March 9, 2023. (credit: United Launch Alliance)

    The long-awaited debut of a winged space plane will have to wait a little longer. This week NASA updated its internal schedule to show that Sierra Space's Dream Chaser spacecraft will now dock to the International Space Station no earlier than December 17, 2023.

    Previously, Sierra Space had been publicly targeting a launch of Dream Chaser in August, on board United Launch Alliance's new Vulcan rocket.

    In a statement to Ars, Sierra Space confirmed the delay. "Sierra Space’s plan is to complete the first launch of Dream Chaser by the end of the 4th quarter this year," the company said.

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