Virgin Orbit carried out their first flight this past weekend, and as most first launch attempts go for a new launch vehicle, it ended in a failure. But not without checking off a ton of items on the rundown.
It’s worth reading Jeff’s article on these changes. They make so much sense that I almost have nothing to say about it.
Roper has been the chair of the Space Acquisition Council, which has been trying to find ways to get funding out into the industry during the pandemic to help contractors of all sizes. They’ve moved much slower than I would have expected when hearing about the Council in the early days, but seems like the news will start flowing now. Starting with what is essentially advancing funds that were already planned is nice, but I’m expecting to see some splashier funding setups soon enough.
The decision was primarily communicated as a way to eliminate technical risk and complexity, but it certainly plays well on the political and budgetary side of things, too. The convergence of political factors this year are a nightmare for NASA’s budget outlook, not to mention the federal budget generally.
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Probably not a bad idea, because of those positive tests for COVID-19 at Baikonur. Luckily they’ve been up there for a while and all seems fine.
Coinciding with a presentation to an astrophysics decadal survey committee meeting, SpaceX posted a bunch of information (and really nice visualizations of Starlink satellites) about what they’re doing to work with astronomers on the visibility issue. It’s wonderful to have this amount of information put in one place, straight from the source.
Speaking of rideshares, SpaceX continues to fill that first rideshare flight to sun-synchronous orbit.
Rocket Lab taking advantage of a bad situation in French Guiana and showing United Launch Alliance how to do it at the same time.
Caleb Henry, for SpaceNews, with a paragraph written so well it stopped me in my tracks. A must-read on OneWeb’s bankruptcy and the strategy of its timing with regards to its upcoming spectrum sale.