Author Topic: Rocket Report: Omega rocket blows a nozzle, NASA still wants 2020 SLS launch  (Read 196 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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ARS Technica by Eric Berger - 5/31/2019

Also, Ecuador may get a rocket launch site.

Welcome to Edition 2.02 of the Rocket Report! We've got lots of heavy-lift news this week, including reports on potential problems with a test of the Omega rocket's large first stage and a messy political decision surrounding NASA's choice of rockets for the high-profile Europa Clipper mission.

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.

Small Rockets

Senate bill calls for use of commercial spaceports. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved three amendments in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 related to the burgeoning small-launch industry, SpaceNews reports. According to the report, the Department of Defense must devise a plan to make greater use of commercial spaceports to launch small satellites, develop a strategy to integrate commercial capabilities into space operations, and investigate China's investments in its small satellite and small launch industries.

Four spaceports named ... The bill requires the Defense Department to submit a plan within 270 days after the law's enactment. In seeking lower-cost launch services, the bill says the military should consider using: Spaceport America in New Mexico, Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia; and the Oklahoma Air & Spaceport. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Utah company eyes Ecuador launch site. Sugarhouse Aerospace, which is developing a suborbital launch vehicle, said it has selected Ecuador as the ideal place for a future spaceport with the goal of sending equatorial launches into space. Sugarhouse's first launch from the Ecuador facility is planned for as early as fall 2020.

Already in New Mexico ... The company says its rocket can loft payloads to an altitude of 125km, exposing them to 5 to 7 minutes of microgravity time, before electing to deploy in space or return to Earth. The Sugarhouse 1 rocket may make its first flight as early as late 2019, and the company says it already has flight operations based at Spaceport America in New Mexico. This is another case of we'll believe it when we see it, but we're intrigued. (submitted by Raillon)

Hot Shot program heats up. The US Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has continued to develop its Hot Shot sounding-rocket program that seeks to lower the cost of testing components and applications in space. The program conducted two flights on April 23 and April 24 at the Kauai Test Facility in Hawaii, the lab reports. The rockets also featured several improvements over the previous one launched last year, including new sensors to measure pressure, temperature, and acceleration.

Using surplus rocket engines ... Sandia is planning another pair of launches this August. The name Hot Shot comes from the term "high operational tempo," which refers to the relatively high frequency of flights. A brisk flight schedule allows scientists and engineers to perform multiple tests in a highly specialized test environment in quick succession. Sandia uses refurbished, surplus rocket engines, making these test flights more economical than conventional flight tests common at the end of a technology's development.

Medium Rockets---

Heavy Rockets---

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