The small GEO trend that has been talked about of late typically refers to satellites a few hundred kilograms in mass. Nearly two tons unfueled probably doesn’t fit the trend in the same way, but at least Boeing is trying.
Any changes that get SpaceX closer to service are great. Speed to at least some level of service is a huge priority for a project as big as Starlink.
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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.
Very special thanks to the 292 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off on Patreon 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.
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.