Chinese startup Linkspace succeeded with a vertical takeoff and landing test late last month on the same day fellow private launch firm OneSpace failed to reach orbit with its OS-m rocket. Also that week, two other Chinese companies declared success with engine tests as they push to develop new launch vehicles.
The European Space Agency’s 22 member states agreed April 17 to a workaround to get Ariane 6 production in full swing despite a dearth of public sector launch contracts.
The upcoming release of the Air Force RPF for launch services was a hot topic last week at the 35th Space Symposium
International Launch Services, the commercial sales division of Russia’s Proton rocket manufacturer Khrunichev, is now part of Glavkosmos, a Roscosmos subsidiary that sells Soyuz rocket launches.
SpaceX sent the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit April 11, completing the Falcon Heavy rocket’s first commercial launch.
Arabsat chose SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to launch its newest satellite in order to give the satellite a longer lifespan, Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat’s chief executive, said in an interview with SpaceNews.
Three launch vehicle developers, one of which is still in stealth mode, have qualified to compete in a DARPA competition in early 2020 to demonstrate responsive launch capabilities.
Blue Origin wants the U.S. Air Force to wait until 2021 before picking the two companies it intends use for launching critical military satellites in the decade ahead.
European launch provider Arianespace completed SES’s first-generation O3b constellation April 4 with the Soyuz launch of four satellites.
The Air Force Space Test Program has awarded contracts to Rocket Lab and Vox Space. More vendors could be selected.
While Blue Origin is asking for a delay in the LSP decision, ULA is said to be fiercely opposed.
An award is anticipated in spring 2020. The Air Force will procure launch services from fiscal year 2020 through 2024 for launches starting in 2022.