Launch Vehicle Development

Update: Retooled Antares 230 Rocket Set to Make its Debut on (Monday) Evening Flight

Update: Retooled Antares 230 Rocket Set to Make its Debut on (Monday) Evening Flight

  Update from NASA: Today’s launch of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket is postponed  24 hours  due to a ground support equipment (GSE) cable that did not perform as expected during the pre-launch check out. We have spares on hand and rework procedures are in process. The Antares and Cygnus teams are not currently working any […]

Stratolaunch Systems and Orbtial ATK Team Up (Again)

Stratolaunch Systems and Orbtial ATK Team Up (Again)

The wild, but underwhelming ride that has been Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s effort to revolutionize the launch industry with the Stratolaunch aircraft has taken another turn. Yesterday, Stratolaunch Systems announced an agreement with Orbital ATK to use the massive carrier aircraft to loft Pegasus XL rockets for air launch, a move which would supplant the […]

Big Rockets and Bigger Dreams: Elon Musk Introduces SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System

Big Rockets and Bigger Dreams: Elon Musk Introduces SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System

SpaceX founder Elon Musk took to the stage at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on Tuesday to finally unveil to the public his company’s vision of a Mars transportation architecture capable of ultimately transporting hundreds of thousands of colonists to the Red Planet. Through the course of the presentation which began with a […]

SpaceX Lights Up Its Raptor Engine For The First Time

SpaceX Lights Up Its Raptor Engine For The First Time

SpaceX has announced the first test firing of its next generation Raptor engine. Word came, as it so often does, via Elon Musk’s Twitter account:   SpaceX propulsion just achieved first firing of the Raptor interplanetary transport engine pic.twitter.com/vRleyJvBkx — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2016 A series of follow up tweets provided a bit […]

Jeff Bezos Introduces New Glenn, Blue Origin’s Massive New Rocket

Jeff Bezos Introduces New Glenn, Blue Origin’s Massive New Rocket

If there were any possibility that SpaceX founder Elon Musk would step back from a highly anticipated announcement of his company’s next big booster in September in deference to the current Falcon 9 investigation, it has likely been erased by the bombshell dropped by Jeff Bezos on Monday. It came in the form of a […]

China Debuts Its New Rocket, Launch Center, and Prototype Crew Capsule

China Debuts Its New Rocket, Launch Center, and Prototype Crew Capsule

China has taken a great leap forward in advancing its space ambitions with the successful Saturday night debut of its all new, kerosene/liquid oxygen fueled Long March 7 rocket. The 13.5 ton to LEO EELV class rocket, roughly comparable to the Atlas V and Falcon 9, is intended to be the workhorse booster for supporting […]

Congress Prepares to Push the AR-1 on ULA

Congress Prepares to Push the AR-1 on ULA

The long and increasingly sordid saga of America’s dependence, and indeed bizarre fascination with the Russian RD-180 engine for the Atlas V booster is set to take another turn this week. And if certain scenarios play out, observers could be forgiven for wondering is there any limit to how much damage elected representatives from the […]

A Brewing Battle Over the Small Launch Industry

A Brewing Battle Over the Small Launch Industry

There is a small, but potentially significant battle brewing between would-be launch providers in one segment of the rocket industry which has seen little development in recent years. How it plays out may say quite a bit about the degree to which the aerospace establishment is seeking to maintain its base wherever it can, and […]

Musk: SpaceX Plans to Re-Fly Falcon 9 in June

Musk: SpaceX Plans to Re-Fly Falcon 9 in June

He declined to talk about his company’s plans for Mars, and seemed surprisingly apprehensive regarding the challenges in launching Falcon Heavy, but Elon Musk’s remarks at a post flight news conference for the CRS-8 mission dropped a bombshell that likely sent his competitors to bed with a stiff drink, if not stronger stuff. Having previously […]

Blue Origin Makes it a Three-peat With Saturday Launch, Recovery

Blue Origin Makes it a Three-peat With Saturday Launch, Recovery

  Blue Origin has successfully conducted a third consecutive launch of its New Shepard reusable  suborbital booster. The latest flight of the hydrogen/oxygen single engine rocket topped with an equally reusable Crew Capsule included several new elements. First, in a welcome development, company founder Jeff Bezos advised followers via Twitter on Friday that a new […]

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