June 5, 2023
Max Q: Ocean Submergence

Max Q: Ocean Submergence

Hello and welcome back to Max Q’s personal Space event. TC is almost upon us. Will you be there? Learn more about the event here. In this topic:

  • Rocket Lab’s helicopter capture attempt results in ocean collapse

  • ispace wants to stake its claim on the moon

  • News from the FCC, Constellr and more

Rocket Lab’s second attempt to grab a rocket booster in the air using a helicopter has failed, though it’s unclear at the time of writing exactly what went wrong.

Rocket Lab aims to retrieve its rocket boosters using a parachute and a helicopter — a bit different from SpaceX, whose boosters return to Earth by landing vertically on a pad. Instead, Rocket Lab’s technique is to equip the booster with a parachute to slow its descent and keep a helicopter waiting nearby to pull it out of the air. From there, the plan is for the helicopter to carry the booster directly back to the company’s production complex.

But unfortunately, we didn’t see an arrest after this launch. Here’s what we know: After a nominal launch and payload deployment, the company’s Sikorsky S-92 helicopter failed the capture attempt. Instead, the company recovered the booster from the ocean after it was launched. We’ll be looking for more information about what went wrong in the coming days.

Tokyo-based startup ispace’s lunar ambitions will soon be put to the test as the company prepares for its first launch later this month.

The startup will attempt to send its ‘Hakuto-R’ lander to the surface of the Moon, kicking off an ambitious lunar exploration program of the same name. Founded in 2010, ispace is one of several emerging companies looking to promote new markets on and around the Moon. on its website, it describes its goal as becoming “a gateway for private sector companies to bring their business to the moon.”

Being the lunar middle and last mile delivery partner could prove lucrative, given the heightened interest from both government space agencies and private companies in lunar exploration. But more than distant revenue is at stake in this first release. Recent reports suggest that ispace is preparing to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as this financial year.

While the company previously targeted a November 9-15 launch window, ispace said Monday it now plans to launch no earlier than November 22. The new date was chosen “in careful coordination” with launch partner SpaceX, the startup said in a statement. Indeed, ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada confirmed that the lander had arrived at Cape Canaveral, Florida, via cargo plane before launch.

ispace m1 lander hakuto-r

The ispace M1 Hakuto-R lander. Image Credits: space

More news from TC and beyond

  • Arkisis is launching a new program called “Embark” for on-orbit payload services for Phase I SBIR and STTR entrants. (Arkisys)

  • Blue Origin delivered all of its two BE-4 rocket engines to United Launch Alliance, which will be used on ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket as early as next year. (Blue Origin)

  • China releases things into orbit using space planes and we don’t know what they are! (SpaceNews)

  • China launched the third and final module for the Tiangong Space Station, and the rocket booster carrying it into orbit began its uncontrolled reentry back to Earth. (The New York Times/USSC)

  • Constellr raised $10 million in seed funding for its space-based water monitoring system. (TechCrunch)

  • Exotrail, a company that develops last-mile satellite transportation, has signed a launch services agreement with German startup Isar Aerospace. (Payload)

  • Firefly Aerospace is seeking to raise up to $300 million in private funding at an undisclosed valuation. (Reuters)

  • of NASA The Space Launch System rocket was released back into the launch pad ahead of its next launch attempt on November 14. (CNN)

  • Soul of NASA The mission was delayed and an independent review board was set up to investigate why. The report is back, and it’s not good: The review panel found multiple staffing issues at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab, including burnout and a lack of technical expertise in key positions. (NASA)

  • Orbex, a small rocket startup based in Scotland, will oversee the construction of the UK mainland’s first vertical launch spaceport. (Orbex)

  • Rocket Lab contracted with Inmarsat to develop and manufacture an L-band radio for NASA. He also delivered the final solar panels to Maxar that will end up on the space agency’s Gateway lunar orbital platform. (Rocket Lab/Rocket Lab)

  • Sierra Space and Blue Origin will participate in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s feasibility study exploring opportunities for Japan to participate in the commercialization of low Earth orbit. (Baker McKenzie)

  • SpaceX is tentatively targeting early December for Starship’s first test flight, a NASA official said. The company also builds seven Raptor 2 rocket engines per week. (!) (Ars Technica)

  • SpaceX launched a Falcon Heavy for the fourth time on a mission for the United States Space Force. The double crash landing caused more than a few jaws to drop. (TechCrunch)

  • Belfry won a DARPA contract for a preliminary design of a satellite that would carry sensors to measure the ionosphere. (Belfry)

  • Terran Orbital landed an additional $100 million investment from Lockheed Martin and announced that it was building its massive spacecraft manufacturing facility in California rather than Florida as originally announced. (TechCrunch)

  • The US Federal Communications Directorate will undergo a major organizational restructuring in response to the explosion of activity in the commercial space by creating a Space Office to separate satellite policy issues from the overall “International Bureau,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said. (FCC)

  • Virgin Galactic released its quarterly financial report and released details of how it plans to launch its space tourism service. (Space)

  • Wyvern, a startup that builds satellites that capture hyperspectral images using space-deployable telescopes, has raised $7 million in a seed round. (Wyvern)

The photo of the week

Blue Origin's BE-4 rocket engine

Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine

Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine. Image Credits: Blue Origin

I bring you Max Q, Aria Alamalhodaei. If you enjoy reading Max Q, please consider recommending it to a friend.

#Max #Ocean #Submergence

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