Max Q: Rocket Booster Meet the Helicopter

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Hello and welcome back to Max Q.

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In this release:

  • Rocket Lab Booster Milestone Recovery
  • Ursa Major and phantom space
  • News from NASA, SpaceX and more
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Rocket Lab briefly filmed a booster in the air for the first time using a helicopter

Rocket Lab scored a landmark victory in its quest for total reuse by briefly catching the first stage of an Electron mid-air using a helicopter. While the recovery wasn’t without problems — the helicopter dropped the booster into the ocean shortly after attaching to it — it’s a successful step forward for the company.

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The Round trip mission also successfully sent 34 payloads into space for clients including Aurora Propulsion Technologies, Spaceflight Inc. and espace.

“After the catch, the helicopter pilot noticed that the load characteristics were different from those we experienced during the tests,” said Muriel Baker, Senior Communications Consultant at Rocket Lab. She added that “at his own discretion, the pilot unloaded” the booster, from where it was returned with the help of a waiting ship.

The company has been working on this first full test of its recovery plan for several months, including mission last November who placed the helicopter near the splashdown point of the booster into the ocean.

Image credits: Rocket Lab

The launch can be viewed on the Rocket Lab YouTube channel. here.

Ursa Major receives order from Phantom Space for hundreds of rocket engines

Startup has made hundreds of rocket engines Big Dipper go to the space company phantom space over the next few years, part of a major order reflecting Phantom’s optimistic position in the smaller launch market.

“We placed the order based on how far we could see demand, and we believe the demand is pretty strong and growing,” Phantom co-founder Jim Cantrell told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “We are investing our money in small-scale production of mass-produced launchers as both a more cost-effective and ultimately more efficient way to put small satellites into orbit.”

Both Phantom and Ursa represent a different approach to the launch market, one that relies more on stable supply chains, mass production, and a horizontal ecosystem rather than the vertical integration of the aerospace industry. Joe Laurienti, who founded Ursa in 2015, has previously worked on engines at both SpaceX and Blue Origin, two prime examples of New Space’s vertical integration that Ursa and Phantom avoid.

Phantom has placed an order for more than 200 engines with Colorado-based Ursa, in what is the startup’s largest order to date. Ursa developed two engines, the 5,000 lb thrust Hadley and the larger 50,000 lb thrust Ripley. Phantom purchased both types of engines for two types of missiles under development, called Daytona and Laguna. If all goes according to plan, Phantom expects the first batch of these engines to go flying as early as next year, along with the first test flight of the low-lift two-stage Daytona.

big dipper headley

Image credits: Big Dipper

More news from TC and more

  • BoeingThe beleaguered Starliner spacecraft is “working great” and ready for its long-awaited launch on May 19, executives say. during a media briefing.
  • Crew-3 The astronauts, a quartet that has been aboard the International Space Station since November, took off from the station in a SpaceX Dragon capsule and splashed back to Earth on Friday.
  • NaraSpace technologyA South Korean startup developing high-resolution imaging nanosatellites closed a 10 billion won ($7.88 million) Series A round.
  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson denounced “cost-plus” contracts in favor of fixed-price contracts, which he says save money and promote competition, during a Senate subcommittee hearing on the agency’s FY23 budget proposal. Under cost-plus contracts, companies are rewarded for their expenses plus a surcharge, while fixed-price… well, that’s what they’re called.
  • Rocket Lab the next launch will be a cubesat for NASA called the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). It is reported by SpaceNews..
  • satellitelogic signed multi-launch agreement with SpaceX for 68 Earth observation satellites.
  • Space launch systemNASA’s multi-billion dollar rocket is likely to get a chance for another wet rehearsal in the first half of Junewith a launch attempt in August, waiting for a wet dress, NASA’s Jim Free told reporters.
  • SpaceX According to US Fish and Wildlife Service documents, activity at its southeast Texas starbase is already correlated with a decline in migratory bird species. received by CNBC through a Freedom of Information Act request.
  • SpaceX Starlink must pass an environmental review before expanding its broadband satellite constellation. competitor Viasat told regulators.
  • starlink now has portability function this allows customers to “temporarily” move their services to different locations on the same continent as their service address for $25 per month.
  • Stratolaunch successfully completed the fifth test flight of Roc, its carrier aircraft, which the company is considering as a launch pad for hypersonic flight.
  • outlooka space tourism company developing a flight on a stratospheric space balloon said that 1000 bookings this week. Each booking costs $500, for flights costing $50,000.

Photo of the week

Boeing Starliner spacecraft ascending ULA Rocket Volcano. Image credits: United Starter Alliance.

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