Rocket Report: SLS boosters may expire in December; Blue Origin delivers BE-4s

Zoom / This photo shows the two side-mounted boosters for this week’s Falcon Heavy launch in Florida.

Trevor Mahelman

Welcome to Rocket Report 5.16! If you count, there are now less than 60 days until the end of 2022. How many US missiles will be issued for the first time before the end of the year? SLS? Earth 1? so heavy? RS1? Nothing above? You didn’t ask, but more/less would be 1.5 than the above, and that might be something optimistic.

As usual we Reader requests are welcomeAnd if you don’t want to miss any issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy missiles, as well as a quick look at the next three launches in the calendar.

Rocket Lab to try enhanced recovery again. The US-based rocket company says it will make a second mid-air attempt to retrieve an electronic booster during Friday’s launch of a Swedish science satellite, Space news reports. This “Catch Me If You Can” mission is scheduled to launch on November 4 at 1:15 PM ET (17:15 UTC) from Company Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The launch will be Rocket Lab’s second attempt to recover Electron’s first stage, which descends under a canopy using a helicopter.

Happy fishing! … On the first attempt on May 2, a hook hanging from the helicopter grabbed the parachute, but the pilot released it moments later after noticing what the company called “different payload characteristics than we experienced in testing.” Instead, the platform collapsed and was recovered by a boat. “Our first helicopter catch just a few months ago demonstrated that we can do what we set out to do with the Electron, and we are keen to get the helicopter back there and further enhance the reuse of our rocket by bringing the dry stage back to the first time,” said Peter Beck, President. Rocket Lab CEO, in a statement about the upcoming launch.(Submitted by Ken Penn and Fargo 04)

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Firefly seeks additional capital. After launching its first alpha rocket into orbit, Firefly Aerospace is seeking to raise up to $300 million in a private fundraising round, Reuters reports. The Texas-based company was valued at more than $1 billion when private equity firm AE Industrial Partners became the controlling shareholder in March, but it did not specify a valuation for this round.

How much money is there? …the new funding will be used to help complete construction of the FireFly’s manufacturing facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and accelerate development of a medium-lift missile the company plans to build with Northrop Grumman. Given the challenges of raising new capital for space-based companies in the current environment, it will be interesting to see how much Firefly can capitalize on. (Provided by Ken Ben)

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Residents resist Canadian engine tests. Trent Hills, an Ontario municipality halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, has asked Canadian launch company SpaceRyde to stop testing a rocket engine. “Trent Hills has received numerous inquiries, concerns, and complaints regarding missile engine testing being conducted in the rural area at a location on County Road 29,” I mentioned Trent Hills now. On October 7, the local government asked SpaceRyde to voluntarily stop testing.

Maybe they can solve it? …the company has until later this month to respond. Some locals do not want to do something with SpaceRyde, which aims to develop a rocket to be launched from a balloon. However, the municipality said it was willing to work with the rocket company: “If there remains a desire to continue use, the municipality has a range of options to deal with the site owner and occupier and address public concerns.” (Provided by JC)

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