I could pretty much copy and paste my thoughts from last week about Dream Chaser flying on Vulcan: not surprising news since we had expected Atlas V, and I wonder what will happen if Vulcan doesn’t get to be a part of the next round of Air Force contracts.
This is a big deal for the Air Force, with a lot of missions up for grabs for launch vehicles that can send 180 kilograms or more to orbit. It’s not the huge payloads like NSSL flies, but 20 missions for the most vibrant sector of the launch market is just as interesting to me.
It’s better news for ULA than it is for Sierra Nevada, but it’s not quite the type of commercial contract that we’d need to see for Vulcan to be a standalone success.
A pair of interesting smallsat rideshare announcements this morning: Arianespace announced their first (of many?) direct-to-GEO flight opportunities, and SpaceX began advertising—with pricing—the first 3 annual flights to a 600 kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.
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IEEE Spectrum published a fantastic collection of stories and features on the current trend of Moon missions. I’ve had a hard copy in my office that I’ve been reading over the past week or so, and it’s a great read for you, the super enthusiast, or your non-space-obsessed friends.
Just three days ago on the podcast I said that given the momentum we’re seeing, soon enough people would start asking why NASA wasn’t involved with Blue Moon and Starship. Now they don’t have to ask.
Back in February, in what I thought was a fantastic all around announcement, ABL upped their payload, dropped their price, and moved to their own engines. And now they’ve got some additional funding via Lockheed Martin for what’s next.
Caleb Henry, for SpaceNews, on an FCC proposal that I like the sound of and will be keeping my eye on.