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Precious Payload helps teams ship satellites to space.

H3’s rocket launch failed (and destroyed ALOS-3), Relativity scrubbed their maiden launch, and Rocket Factory tests a nitromethane-based fuel engine for its OTV

Precious Weekly: March 6–12, 2023


Launch Updates

Last week, 🇺🇸Relativity Space scrubbed the launch of its Terran 1 rocket (carrying no payload onboard) twice; once due to abortion of the rocket’s stage separation automation, and most recently due to a fuel pressure issue on the second stage. [Space.com] [LaunchSchedule]


🇺🇸Rocket Lab delayed the launch of its second mission, Stronger Together, from 🇺🇸NASA’s 🇺🇸Wallops Flight Facility due to unfavorable wind conditions. The mission will carry two satellites for Capella Space. [Space.com] [LaunchSchedule]


🇪🇸PLD Space prepares for the launch of its suborbital, recoverable launch vehicle Miura-1 flight from 🇪🇸Huelva this month. Carrying onboard a 100kg payload by the 🇩🇪German Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM), it will be the first launch of a private rocket from Europe. [LinkedIn]



Past Flights

🇯🇵H3’s rocket failed its first test flight on March 7 due to a second-stage engine malfunction, destroying the EO satellite, ALOS-3, onboard. [SpaceflightNow


40 🇬🇧OneWeb satellites were launched by 🇺🇸SpaceX from 🇺🇸Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on March 9. The upcoming launch with 🇮🇳ISRO/NSIL will complete Gen 1 constellation later this month. [SatelliteEvolution] [LaunchSchedule]



🇬🇧/🇪🇺Astroscale Ltd to employ its Active Debris Removal (ADR) servicer through the COSMIC mission—to remove space debris by retrieving two defunct British satellites currently orbiting Earth—by 2026. [SpaceWatchGlobal]


🇫🇷Opus Aerospace completes the hot-fire testing of its Torgos engine for use aboard its Mesange suborbital rocket, with the launch date as-yet undisclosed. [LinkedIn]


🇩🇪RFA tests the Fenix engine (using nitromethane-based fuel) for its Redshift OTV. The OTV will serve as RFA ONE’s upper stage for all missions. [Twitter]


🇺🇸Momentus shipped its Vigoride Orbital Service Vehicle (OSV) to the 🇺🇸Vandenberg Space Force Base for launch on the Transporter-7 mission next month. [SmallsatNews] Payloads onboard the Vigoride vehicle are: [LaunchSchedule]

  2. IRIS-C: 🇹🇼National Cheng Kung University
  3. REVELA and SMPOD03: 🇮🇹ARCA
  4. DISCO-1: 🇩🇰Aarhus University
  5. STORK-7: 🇵🇱SatRevolution
  6. VIREO: 🇭🇺CS3
  7. TAppe Spring Solar Array: 🇺🇸Momentus Space


🇺🇸Space Launch Delta 45 recently allocated several 🇺🇸Cape Canaveral Space Force Station sites as follows: 

  1. Space Launch Complex (SLC) 13 to 🇺🇸Phantom Space
  2. 🇺🇸Vaya Space, SLC-14 to 🇺🇸Stoke Space [GeekWire]
  3. SLC-15 to 🇺🇸ABL Space Systems (for use as a launch operations center). 
  4. None of the four companies have disclosed details about infrastructure they plan to build at the launch sites, or when they expect to start using them. [SpaceNews]



🇺🇸Lonestar raises $5M in total funding to launch lunar data centers with provider 🇺🇸Intuitive Machines for its two missions, scheduled for launch in Q2 and Q4 2023. [SpaceWatchGlobal]


The 🇬🇧UK Space Agency to put up £1.6M for eight projects through its Enabling Space Exploration program, funding exploration and technological projects. [Gov.UK] The projects are as follows: 

  1. Fluorescent deep-space, petri-pod (FDSPP) flight-readiness program by University of Exeter
  2. All-in-one Mars in-situ resource utilization system, using non-thermal plasma, by University of Southampton
  3. Integrated fission-based power systems for electric propulsion by University of Southampton
  4. Novel infrared technology for exploration of and advanced reconnaissance on Mars by Open University
  5. A microwave heating and oxygen-extraction experiment by Open University, Buckinghamshire
  6. Reactors for off-planet life-support systems and Martian in-situ resource utilization by MAC SciTech
  7. Nuclear thermal fuel system and thermal-based characterization by Bangor University
  8. In-situ resource utilization production, DISRUPT-2, by Thales Alenia Space


🇺🇸Sidus Space lands an additional agreement for the next phase of 🇺🇸NASA’s ASTRA on-orbit autonomy project, to integrate autonomous capabilities on a Sidus-built LizzieSat satellite. LizzieSat-1 is currently set for launch in 2023 via 🇩🇪Exolaunch, aboard Falcon 9. [SatelliteEvolution] [LaunchSchedule]


🇺🇸Starfish Space secures $14M for development of its Otter Pup satellite life-extension and debris-removal service, which will be launched aboard the Transporter-8 mission. [SpaceWatchGlobal] [LaunchSchedule]


🇰🇷South Korea’s government to invest $38.5M in the private space sector by 2027 to support space startups. [SpaceRadar]


🇳🇿Argo Navis Aerospace, founded by previous Rocket Lab staffer Malcom Snowdon, secures $1.07M for its first space test flight of its K-200 sounding rocket. [NationalBusinessReview] [LinkedIn]


The 🇿🇦EO AFRICA R&D Facility, in collaboration with 🇫🇷ESA and the 🇿🇦African Union Commission, awarded 17 research projects that would develop EO algorithms and applications adapted to African challenges. The funding comes from 11 African and nine European countries. [SpaceInAfrica]



🇺🇸John Deere is yet to finalize a satellite partner to create geospatial crop maps to analyze crop growth and foster connectivity between farmers. [TechBrew]


🇺🇸South California’s growth in startup activity over the last two years has been mapped out by 🇺🇸Starburst. The map: [LinkedIn]



🇫🇷ESA is inviting space companies to create a telecommunication and navigation service for the agency under its Moonlight program, while being free to sell lunar services and solutions to other agencies and commercial ventures. [ESA]



Check out Precious Weekly: February 27–March 5, 2023


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