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Precious Weekly: April 10 — 16, 2023

See news tagged with a 🚀? Click the link to reveal more about the launch or its provider on Launch.ctrl—your gateway to space! 💫


Launch Updates

The test flight of 🇺🇸SpaceX’s Starship has been delayed due to a frozen pressurant valve, and the rocket will not launch for at least 48 hours. [Space.com] [🚀More info on launch]

🇺🇸Rocket Lab has moved two Electron launches of NASA’s TROPICS constellation from 🇺🇸Virginia to 🇳🇿New Zealand to avoid conflicts with another launch. The launches, named “Rocket Like a Hurricane” and “Coming to a Storm Near You,” are scheduled for April 30 and May 15, respectively. [SpaceNews] [🚀More info on launch]

🇰🇷The KSLV-2 rocket is scheduled for launch on May 24th from the Naro Space Center in South Korea, carrying: [SpaceNews]

  1. NEXTSat 2 by 🇰🇷KAIST
  2. JLC-101-v1-2 by 🇰🇷Justec
  3. Lumir-T1 by 🇰🇷Lumir
  4. KSAT3U by 🇰🇷Kairo Space
  5. SNIPE, a constellation of four 6U cubesats, by 🇰🇷KASI (Small scale magNetospheric and Ionospheric Plasma Experiment)

During its maiden flight in October 2021, KSLV-2 successfully reached its target altitude of 700 km. However, the rocket’s third-stage engine experienced an early shutdown, causing the release of its 1,500-kg dummy payload at a suborbital speed.



🇨🇦Kepler secures $92M for the development of an optical data relay infrastructure for launch in 2024. [SpaceQ]

🇩🇰GomSpace gets contracted by 🇮🇹Argotec for €845,000 to deliver its power systems by Q1 2024. [SmallsatNews]


Past Flights

On April 14th, Ariane 5 successfully launched 🇫🇷ESA’s JUICE mission to Jupiter from 🇫🇷French Guiana. [SpaceWatchGlobal] [🚀More info on launch]

🇺🇸The Transporter 7 mission was successfully launched on April 15th from Vandenberg Space Force Base. [Space.com] [🚀More info on launch] [Payloads info]



🇪🇺ESA’s ‘Fly Your Satellite! Design Booster’ program for student teams has advanced to the Baseline Design Review phase, featuring the following projects: [SmallsatNews]

  1. 6S by 🇮🇹Politecnico di Milano
  2. AlbaSat by 🇮🇹Università degli di Studi di Padova
  3. BIXO by 🇪🇸University of Vigo
  4. ROSPIN-SAT-1 by 🇷🇴Politehnica University of Bucharest
  5. SAGE by 🇨🇭ETH Zurich
  6. ST3LLAR-Sat1 by 🇪🇸Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

🇮🇹Sitael has been contracted by 🇫🇷ESA to provide four PLATiNO hyperspectral satellites for the IRIDE EO constellation, with operations set to commence in 2026. [SatelliteEvolution]

Terran 1’s first flight was also its last. 🇺🇸Relativity Space is now concentrating on developing its successor, Terran R. The launch is scheduled for 2026 from 🇺🇸Cape Canaveral. [Space.com]

🇺🇸Blue Canyon will create three smallsats for 🇺🇸NASA’s INCUS mission, studying thunderstorm dynamics and climate impacts, set for a 2027 launch. [SmallsatNews]

🇺🇸Founded by former SpaceX veterans, Argo Space Corporation plans to use lunar water for its reusable and refuelable Argonaut spacecraft, enabling energy-intensive transfers to GEO and beyond. [TechCrunch]

🇱🇺/🇺🇸Intelsat has ordered a fuel pod from 🇺🇸Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics to extend the life of one of its geostationary satellites by at least six years. Launching in late 2024, the Mission Extension Pod (MEP) will be installed in 2026 using a Mission Robotic Vehicle servicer. Intelsat is still determining which of its 50+ satellites will receive the upgrade. [SpaceNews]

  • 🇨🇭Beyond Gravity’s (formerly RUAG Space) second “Launchpad” program has selected four startups to develop space industry solutions:
    🇩🇪Orion AM focuses on advanced plastic 3D printers for aerospace manufacturing;
    🇮🇳Ethereal X aims to create a powerful reusable medium-weight launch vehicle;
  • 🇩🇪Aucta transforms CAD data into 3D visualizations,
  • 🇺🇸/🇨🇭Earkick develops AI technology to measure employee mental health. [Beyond Gravity]

🇺🇸Draper completed the mission architecture and requirements and payload design review for 🇺🇸NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services mission launch in 2025. [SpaceNews]

🇺🇸Spire Global and 🇺🇸Momentus face delisting warnings from 🇺🇸NYSE and 🇺🇸Nasdaq due to stock prices below $1. They have ~6 months to recover. [CNBC]


Check out last week’s updates — Precious Weekly: April 3 — 9, 2023, “Starship is ready for launch, Quantum Space unveils the Ranger OTV, India and China successfully test reusable launch vehicles.”


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