Exciting news! My son was born a few days ago, and we’re all home and healthy. I’ll be going offline for a few weeks to spend some time with him and settle into life as a parent. Feels like a good breakpoint in 2020, anyway!
Very special thanks to the 437 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off for the month of July. MECO is entirely listener- and reader-supported, so your support keeps this blog and podcast going, growing, and improving, and most importantly, it keeps it independent.
Yesterday evening, Starship SN5 took a glorious flight up to 150 meters and down to its landing pad. It was a joy to watch, and other than a small engine fire that probably isn’t much to worry about, looked like a wonderfully successful test, complete with off-axis thrust, attitude control, and great sound. I figured now is as good a time as any to check in on some predictions Tim Dodd and I made back in February.
A good plan that Jake of WeMartians fame called months ago. His episode about planetary protection with Dr. Wendy Calvin—a member of the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board that had influence on these changes—is seriously worth a listen.
The rideshare contracts that SMC planned for 6 companies have been withdrawn, but LeoLabs is being awarded a $15 million contract.
I’ve been kicking the news on this one around my head for a bit. I can’t quite come up with a grand unifying theory, but there are a couple of good reasons, though.
Very special thanks to the 422 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off for the month of June. MECO is entirely listener- and reader-supported, so your support keeps this blog and podcast going, growing, and improving, and most importantly, it keeps it independent.
Most interesting is the contract Raytheon won for $37 million, under which they will supply Overhead Persistent Infrared payloads—the same type of payloads they’re supplying for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning satellites.
Relativity now has a hell of a backlog, plenty of facilities, and the holy grail that is both an east and west coast launch site, if they can successfully build one at Vandenberg. I honestly wouldn’t bet on the latter.
Intelsat ordered four from Maxar and two from Northrop Grumman, while SES ordered two each from Boeing and Northrop Grumman with two more yet to be announced. This is huge for satellite manufacturers who have been hurting in recent years after a dip in orders. This is all in preparation for clearing C-band spectrum that has been reallocated towards 5G deployment in the US and will be auctioned off late this year.