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Precious Payload helps teams ship satellites to space.

SpaceX’s Starship suffers ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly’, RocketLab introduces suborbital rocket, and OrbitFab secures multi-million dollar investment

Precious Weekly: April 17 — 23, 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

🇺🇸Rocket Lab plans to launch the HASTE suborbital rocket (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron), derived from its Electron rocket to provide frequent and cost-effective hypersonic and suborbital test opportunities, in H1 2023 for a confidential customer from Virginia. [BusinessWire] [🚀More info on launch]

Unscheduled disassembly: 🇺🇸SpaceX’s first integrated Starship test launch of prototypes Ship 24 and Booster 7 ended in a midair explosion after takeoff from Texas on April 20th. A launch failure occurred before the booster could separate. [Space.com

🇬🇧Space Forge will launch its ForgeStar-1A satellite from 🇦🇺Australia’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex later this year. The company has signed an MoU with 🇦🇺Southern Launch to prove its spacecraft re-entry capabilities. The launch provider has not been disclosed. [SatelliteEvolution]

🇮🇳ISRO launched its PSLV rocket carrying the communications demonstrator, TeLEOS-2, and the EO satellite, LUMELITE-4, from 🇮🇳Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22nd April. 🇮🇳Bellatrix’s ARKA series HET (solar electric propulsion) was also on board. [Space.com] [Twitter] [🚀More info on launch]

The first rocket of the STERN-HyEnD N2ORTH campaign was successfully launched from 🇸🇪 Esrange Space Center on April 18th, reaching an altitude of 64 km. This sets a new record for student-built hybrid rockets. STERN (Studentische Experimental-Raketen) is a program offered by 🇩🇪 DLR that provides aerospace engineering students at German universities with the opportunity to realize their projects. Another student rocket, Texus 58, is scheduled to launch today, April 24th. [SSC] [LinkedIn] [🚀More info on launch] [Twitter]



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🇺🇸Rogue Space, a company providing in-space repair, maintenance, and space debris removal services with autonomous robots, has successfully tested their “Barry” spacecraft for launch aboard Transporter-8 through 🇩🇪Exolaunch. [SmallsatNews] [🚀More info on launch]

🇺🇸Rocket Lab plans to reuse its Rutherford engine that was flown in May 2022 for an upcoming Electron launch in Q3 2023. [Space.com]



🇪🇸Pangea Aerospace will supply the ARCOS methalox aerospike engine to 🇺🇸Tehiru for its thermo-electric rocket booster, with an undisclosed launch date. [SpaceWatchGlobal]

🇫🇮ReOrbit partners with 🇦🇷VENG, a high value-added space technology and services company, to develop new EO satellites, Gluon. ReOrbit will provide the satellite bus, and VENG will work on the payload subsystem. The satellites will be manufactured, integrated, and tested at facilities in Cordoba owned by 🇦🇷CONAE (the National Commission for Space Activities of Argentina) and operated by VENG. [ReOrbit]

🇨🇭SpacePharma has chosen 🇫🇷 the International Space University to be their European office for the development of its microlabs. [ISU

🇺🇸Science Application International Corp and 🇸🇪GomSpace have signed an MoU to deliver spacecraft components, fully integrated spacecraft, reliable in-orbit services, and mission operations for cubesat, microsat, and smallsat systems and solutions for the American market. [SpaceWatchGlobal]



🌍The African space industry is witnessing growth with an increase in opportunities and partnerships. The expected value is to reach $23M by 2026. [DW]



🇬🇧The UK Space Agency has allocated £20 million to enhance the country’s space industry through international partnerships. The funding will be granted to the UK’s main entity, which can then distribute it to their international partners as needed, subject to proper due diligence checks. While the agency is particularly interested in collaborations with the USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan, they are open to considering opportunities from other parts of the world as well. The deadline for submitting proposals is June 9th, 2023, at noon BST. [Gov.UK]

Reminder: Our partner 🇩🇪AZO has launched The Space Impact platform for entrepreneurs and scaleups to showcase their solutions and business models in the space industry and organizing 🇪🇺ESA Payload Masters competition. This initiative seeks innovative in-orbit experiments and payload technologies, targeting a broader democratization of space exploration. Participants can test their technology (minimum TRL 5) during the “Mission Possible” aboard Nyx, a modular and reusable orbital vehicle by 🇩🇪The Exploration Company, in 2024. Applicants must be juridical entities registered in an ESA Member State, ESA Associate Member, or Canada. Apply by April 30th, 2023, at https://spaceimpact.eu/.

🇺🇸NASA announces the creation of the COSMIC consortium that will look into advancing technologies for in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing (ISAM). NASA plans to fund COSMIC for the foreseeable future and won’t require participating organizations to pay membership fees, which she said is intended to avoid “consortium fatigue.” [SpaceNews



🇺🇸Orbit Fab has secured $28.5M in funding to accelerate work on satellite fuel delivery and storage infrastructure using its RAFTI refueling ports. The round is led by 8090 Industries, with major investments by Stride Capital, Industrious Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Tribe Capital, Good Growth Capital, and Massive Capital Partners.  [SatelliteEvolution]

🇦🇺 Fleet Space has been awarded a contract worth AUD$6.4M by 🇦🇺 Defense Space Command for its Centauri tactical communications and data transmission satellites under the ASCEND2LEO program. [SpaceWatchGlobal]

🇸🇪 Ovzon has been contracted by 🇸🇪 SSC to provide three months of SATCOM-as-a-Service, including its OTM terminals. [SatelliteEvolution]

🇺🇸Astra has secured an $11.5M worth order from 🇺🇸 USSF’s Orbital Services Program, OSP-4, to launch experimental payloads with the mission, STP-S29B, in April 2025 on its Astra 4 launch vehicle. [SpaceNews] [🚀More info on launch]

Discover our latest updates from last week – click the link now!


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