At first glance, the news looks good for a new wave of small launchers under development. Interest in cubesats, either for constellations or standalone missions, also seems to be growing by the year. Less clear, though, is just how big that market is, and how much of it can be captured by small launchers.
A Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket on May 24 successfully placed two European Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellites into medium-Earth orbit – the 13th and 14th in a series of 26 Galileo spacecraft, with more to come.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office in March 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a spokeswoman for the intelligence agency said.
Negotiations will start by June between the now fully operational Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) and the European Space Agency on the ASL’s bid to complete construction of the future Ariane 6 rocket, ESA Launcher Director Gaele Winters said.
The White House said it would veto an authorization bill from a House defense committee in part because of a series of restrictions it puts on the Air Force to develop a replacement for the Russian RD-180 rocket engine.
A $517 billion defense spending bill the U.S. House Appropriations Committee will mark up May 17 cuts nearly $500 million from the Air Force's main launch budget.
Key members of the House Armed Services Committee are pushing competing amendments that would do the same thing: let the Air Force spend a bit more on projects not directly related to building a replacement for the Russian RD-180 engine.
Managers of three key NASA exploration programs said May 10 that they are making good progress towards a first launch of the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket as soon as September 2018.
The present-day debate about a policy change to allow the use of ICBM motors to provide lower cost commercial launches mirrors one from the early 1990s.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on May 6 successfully placed Sky Perfect JSat’s JCSat-14 commercial telecommunications satellite into transfer orbit, with the rocket’s first stage landing gracefully on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Satellite and rocket builder Orbital ATK on May 5 said its re-engined Antares medium-lift launch vehicle likely would make its first flight in July and would be nicely profitable for Orbital even if it wins no other customers beyond its current NASA space station resupply business.
Wednesday's briefing begins with SpaceX disclosing it has been approached by customers interested in flying aboard the maiden launch of Falcon Heavy.
SpaceX’s new price chart shows the performance cost incurred when making the Falcon 9 Full Thrust and Falcon Heavy rockets partially reusable.
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.