An FAA advisory panel approved a recommendation April 28 calling for no change in current policy that restricts the use of excess intercontinental ballistic missile motors for commercial launch vehicles.
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat on April 28 said tests of its first Epic-class satellite, Intelsat 29e, have confirmed the performance increases the company had been predicting and that the satellite would enter service by late May.
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications on April 28 said the contracting team for its second-generation Iridium Next constellation had put past delays behind it and would be ready for a first launch of 10 satellites in late July aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The U.S. Air Force would have access to as many as 18 Russian RD-180 rocket engines under a bill the House Armed Services Committee approved April 28.
SpaceX has won an $82.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to launch a next-generation GPS satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket in May 2018, the first of nine competitive launch awards the Defense Department plans to make in the next three years.
Daniel Gouré’s op-ed “Why Does The Air Force Want To Destroy The Struggling U.S. Space Launch Business?” is inaccurate and misleading.
Euro Soyuz launches Sentinel-1B Earth observation satellite, Einstein-challenging physics experiment
A Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket on April 25 successfully placed a European radar Earth observation satellite, a French fundamental-physics experiment and three European university-built cubesats into separate low-Earth orbits.
Rocket engine builder Safran on April 26 said its Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) joint venture to be “fully operational on the 1st of July” following a resolution of “technical and administrative formalities.”
WASHINGTON — A company led by a number of space industry veterans is the latest to enter the crowded small launch vehicle field, hoping to stand out by focusing on the very small end of the market.
Vector Space Systems announced April 26 …
The House Armed Services Committee is set to take up an authorization bill this week that would insist the Pentagon invest in a new main stage engine — not an upper stage engine, strap-on motors or launch vehicles as the Air Force has planned — as the cornerstone of its effort to wean itself from the Russian RD-180 rocket engine.
Now that SpaceX appears on the verge of being the first to reuse rocket hardware since NASA with the U.S. space shuttle, investors and competitors are sharpening their pencils to assess the business case.
An April 19 House hearing about potential policy changes that could affect development of small launch vehicles did not result in any consensus on what action, if any, to take on issues that could affect the competitiveness of the industry.
Russia’s Roscosmos, acting in its new role as a state corporation tasked with reforming Russia’s space industry, on April 19 said debt-ridden space-hardware builder Khrunichev Space Center had been provided with subsidies and loans to stabilize its accounts.
The head of Air Force Space Command said he believes U.S. launch companies should be able to buy rocket motors from decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missiles to power commercial launches, but at a price that would not put the rest of the commercial small launch industry at a disadvantage.