NASA and other global space programs (excluding Indian) news, Updates and Discussions

skywatcher

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Delta IV Heavy retired today! An era ended!

Active heavy lift launch vechicle(as of 10 Apr 2024):

NASA SLS
SpaceX Falcon Heavy
ULA Vulcan Centaur
CASC Long March 5/5B
Roscosmos Angara-A5
Roscosmos Proton-M
SpaceX Falcon 9


Upcoming heavy lift launchers:
May 2024 SpaceX Starship
June 2024 ESA Ariane 6
Dec 2024 Blue Origin New Glenn
June 2025 Land Space Zhuque 3
Q4 2025 OrienSpace Gravity 2
2026 CASC Long March 10
2026 Relativity Space Terran R
 
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Russia Aborts Test Launch Of Angara-A5 Space Rocket Due To Technical Glitch
The decision was made due a malfunction of the pressurising system of the oxidiser tank, the RIA news agency cited Russian Space chief Yuri Borisov as saying.
Russia Aborts Test Launch Of Angara-A5 Space Rocket Due To Technical Glitch

Angara-A5 can deliver a heavier payload to orbit if launched from Vostochny.
A technical malfunction forced Russia on Tuesday to abort the test launch of the Angara-A5 rocket from its Vostochny Cosmodrome minutes before it was scheduled to lift off.
The decision was made due a malfunction of the pressurising system of the oxidiser tank, the RIA news agency cited Russian Space chief Yuri Borisov as saying.
The heavy booster rocket is the first one designed in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union and is supposed to deliver to orbit the modules for Russia's planned space station and satellites for the Russian navigation system, GLONASS.
According to an announcement made through loudspeakers at the launch pad, the launch - which was supposed to be the first for this type of rocket at Russia's new launch site - was delayed by 24 hours.
Due to its location closer to the equator, Angara-A5 can deliver a heavier payload to orbit if launched from Vostochny, Russia's first and only post-Soviet spacecraft launch site, than from Plesetsk, an Soviet-era facility where it has had three successful test launches.
Tuesday's setback follows the failure of a Russian moon mission last August, its first in 47 years, when the spacecraft crashed into the moon.
Somewhat restoring Moscow's standing in the space race, Russian Soyuz spacecraft successfully blasted off to the International Space Station last month with a crew of three and returned last week, although its launch had also been delayed due to a glitch.
 

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Update: Major events for the rest of 2024

25 Apr 2024 CASC Long March 2F Shenzhou-18 crewed mission to CSS
3 May 2024 CASC Long March 5 Chang'e 6 lunar sample return
7 May 2024 ULA Atlas 5 Boeing starliner first crewed test flight
(TBD)May SpaceX Starship Flight 4
3 June 2024 Roscosmos Soyuz Progress cargo mission to ISS
(TBD)June 2024 ULA Vulcan Centaur first Dream Chaser cargo mission to ISS
(TBD)June 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 crewed mission to ISS
(TBD)July 2024 ISRO LVM 3 Gaganyaan 1 first uncrewed Gaganyaan flight test
(TBD)Aug 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew-9 crewed mission to ISS
11 Sept 2024 Roscosmos Soyuz MS-26 crewed mission to ISS
(TBD)Q3 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Firefly Blue Ghost lunar lander
8 Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 ESA Hera Asteroid orbiter
10 Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon Heavy NASA Europa Clipper Jupiter orbiter
(TBD)Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 AX-4 crewed mission
(TBD)Nov 2024 CASC Long March 2F Shenzhou-19 crewed mission to CSS
(TBD)Nov 2024 CASC Long March 7 Tianzhou-8 cargo mission to CSS
(TBD)Nov 2024 SpaceX Falcon Heavy Griffin lunar lander
(TBD)Dec 2024 Blue Origin New Glenn ESCAPADE Mars orbiters
(TBD)Dec 2024 Rocket Lab Electron Photon & Venus Life Finer Venus flyby & entry
(TBD)Dec 2024 ISRO LVM 3 Gaganyaan 2 second uncrewed Gaganyaan flight test
(TBD)Dec 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Japanese Hakuto-R 2 lunar lander & rover

Possible new launchers:
May 2024 Australia Gilmour Space Eris first orbital flight
June 2024 French Arianespace Ariane 6 first orbital flight
July 2024 China Space Pioneer Tianlong-3 first orbital flight
Q3 2024 India Skyroot Aerospace Vikram 1 first orbital flight
Nov 2024 China Galactic Energy Pallas-1 first orbital flight
Dec 2024 China Deep Blue Aerospace Nebula-1 first orbital flight
Dec 2024 China CASC Long March 12 first orbital flight
Q4 2024 Germany RFA RFA One first orbital flight
Q4 2024 US Blue Origin New Glenn first orbital flight
Q4 2024 US Rocket Lab Neutron first orbital flight
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
(TBD)2024 Argentina TLON Space Aventura I first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Canada Reaction Dynamics Aurora first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 French Venture OS Zéphyr first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Germany Isar Aerospace Spectrum first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Germany HyImpulse SL1 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Russia VKS RF Rokot first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 South Korea Perigee Aerospace Blue Whale 1 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 South Korea Innospace Hanbit-Nano first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 UK Skyrora Skyrora XL first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 UK Orbex Prime first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Astra Rocket 4.0 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Aevum Ravn X first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Phantom Space Daytona first orbital flight
 

skywatcher

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First Asian on the Moon will be a Japanese astronaut

"Two Japanese astronauts will join future American missions, and one will become the first non-American ever to land on the Moon," Biden said in a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Kishida hailed the announcement as a "huge achievement" and announced that Japan would in return supply a rover for the program.

NASA's Artemis program seeks to return humans to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years, and to build a sustained lunar presence ahead of potential missions to Mars.

Between 1969 and 1972, the US Apollo program saw 12 Americans -- all white men -- walk on the Moon.

NASA previously announced that the Artemis program would see the first woman and the first person of color land on the Moon.

"America will no longer walk on the Moon alone," NASA chief Bill Nelson said in a video published on social media.

"Diplomacy is good for discovery. And discovery is good for diplomacy," he added.

Tokyo and Washington have worked together in the space sector for years, notably collaborating on operations at the International Space Station (ISS).

In a joint media release, the United States and Japan clarified that a Japanese national would land on the Moon "assuming important benchmarks are achieved," without clarifying further.

The lunar rover provided by Japan in return will be pressurised, meaning astronauts can travel farther and work for longer periods on the lunar surface, according to the statement.

It added that the pressurised rover will accommodate two astronauts in the "mobile habitat and laboratory" for up to 30 days as they explore the area near the lunar South Pole.

NASA currently plans to use the rover on the future Artemis 7 mission, followed by subsequent missions over a 10-year lifespan.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has three seats reserved for future Artemis missions in exchange for technological contributions to the program.

However, it is still unclear whether European astronauts will have the chance to step foot on the Moon or just fly around it.

The Artemis space program was inaugurated in 2022 with Artemis 1, which successfully flew an uncrewed vessel around the Moon.

Artemis 2 is planned for 2025 and will send four astronauts around the Moon without landing. The crew will consist of three Americans and a Canadian, who are currently in training.

The first crewed landing on the Moon will be Artemis 3, currently scheduled for Sept 2026. NASA has not yet announced who will take part in the mission. China meanwhile has said it seeks to put humans on the Moon by 2030.


Stay tuned.
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skywatcher

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Update: Major events for the rest of 2024

25 Apr 2024 CASC Long March 2F Shenzhou-18 crewed mission to CSS
3 May 2024 CASC Long March 5 Chang'e 6 lunar sample return
7 May 2024 ULA Atlas 5 Boeing starliner first crewed test flight
(TBD)May SpaceX Starship Flight 4
3 June 2024 Roscosmos Soyuz Progress cargo mission to ISS
(TBD)June 2024 ULA Vulcan Centaur first Dream Chaser cargo mission to ISS
(TBD)June 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 crewed mission to ISS
(TBD)July 2024 ISRO LVM 3 Gaganyaan 1 first uncrewed Gaganyaan flight test
(TBD)Aug 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew-9 crewed mission to ISS
11 Sept 2024 Roscosmos Soyuz MS-26 crewed mission to ISS
(TBD)Q3 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Firefly Blue Ghost lunar lander
8 Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 ESA Hera Asteroid orbiter
10 Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon Heavy NASA Europa Clipper Jupiter orbiter
(TBD)Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 AX-4 crewed mission
(TBD)Nov 2024 CASC Long March 2F Shenzhou-19 crewed mission to CSS
(TBD)Nov 2024 CASC Long March 7 Tianzhou-8 cargo mission to CSS
(TBD)Nov 2024 SpaceX Falcon Heavy Griffin lunar lander
(TBD)Dec 2024 Blue Origin New Glenn ESCAPADE Mars orbiters
(TBD)Dec 2024 Rocket Lab Electron Photon & Venus Life Finer Venus flyby & entry
(TBD)Dec 2024 ISRO LVM 3 Gaganyaan 2 second uncrewed Gaganyaan flight test
(TBD)Dec 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Japanese Hakuto-R 2 lunar lander & rover

Possible new launchers:
May 2024 Australia Gilmour Space Eris first orbital flight
June 2024 French Arianespace Ariane 6 first orbital flight
July 2024 China Space Pioneer Tianlong-3 first orbital flight
Q3 2024 India Skyroot Aerospace Vikram 1 first orbital flight
Nov 2024 China Galactic Energy Pallas-1 first orbital flight
Dec 2024 China Deep Blue Aerospace Nebula-1 first orbital flight
Dec 2024 China CASC Long March 12 first orbital flight
Q4 2024 Germany RFA RFA One first orbital flight
Q4 2024 US Blue Origin New Glenn first orbital flight
Q4 2024 US Rocket Lab Neutron first orbital flight
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
(TBD)2024 Argentina TLON Space Aventura I first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Canada Reaction Dynamics Aurora first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 French Venture OS Zéphyr first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Germany Isar Aerospace Spectrum first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Germany HyImpulse SL1 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Russia VKS RF Rokot first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 South Korea Perigee Aerospace Blue Whale 1 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 South Korea Innospace Hanbit-Nano first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 UK Skyrora Skyrora XL first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 UK Orbex Prime first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Astra Rocket 4.0 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Aevum Ravn X first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Phantom Space Daytona first orbital flight
Australia's first orbital launcher Eris will be launched no earlier than 4 May 2024
00686eaKgy1hoq49unjnfj31hc0u0b29.jpg


It's a light lift private rocket & stay tuned
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skywatcher

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Blue Orign'sub-super heavy rocket New Glenn is bent on maiden launch on schedule by the end of this year.

0063xQRgly1horemiruq3j31jk111tn7.jpg

Stay tuned.
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skywatcher

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I have a very good feeling that we're living in a new golden age of space faring right now.

In less than 5~10 years, access to space will be super cheap with the technological optimization & commercialization of chemical fueled rockets. Millions of pounds of hardware will be sent the Moon or even Mars at a low cost. Although there will be no major technological leap in near future, it's enough in our generation.
Space is no longer exclusive to an elite club.
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2024 may be an inflection point of this great transition in this great era.

Global orbital launches by year since 1957
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NASA’s no to Mars

Louis Friedman April 17, 2024

In a stumbling statement this week, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson presented the NASA position on Mars Sample Return: “The bottom line is that $11 billion is too expensive and not returning samples until 2040 is unacceptably too long,” he said April 15. Actually, it was his top line — NASA had already signaled they would not support Mars Sample Return (MSR) — indeed the budget decision had been made a couple of months ago and had resulted in layoffs of much of the MSR workforce.

Nelson’s line (top or bottom) was disingenuous. The 2040 date is a NASA marketing date for its human program, and has no reality for the actual development of a human mission to Mars. Just look at the already existing delays in the Artemis program before it even starts work on a human lunar landing. Similarly, the $11 billion ought not to be a problem for the agency spending nearly ten times that much on Artemis, and likely will require 50 times that much for humans to go to Mars. Nelson cited wanting the samples back before a human mission to Mars; 2040 would be just fine. Furthermore, it is not the samples that are a precursor to the engineering development of the human Mars mission — it is the robotic MSR itself with the entry, descent, landing, ascent, rendezvous and docking, and Earth return that all precursors. They would be part of the development. Now they are likely to not be relevant, as scaled down “heritage” of what we have done before. In fact, the most likely outcome is more delay or outright ceasing Mars exploration altogether.

NASA does not care about MSR because it wants to protect Artemis. NASA would not even allow the Independent Review Board to state that MSR was in the U.S. national interest. Yet, it is. We lead the world in space because of what we have done in the solar system. Now, it appears, that torch will pass to China. A headline last month in a Chinese newspaper read, “China’s Mars sample return mission ‘progressing smoothly’ while Nasa struggles behind schedule.” The arena for American technology development is not old-fashioned rockets and space suits. It is robotics, intonation processing, artificial intelligence, sensors and instruments. And the rationale for space exploration should be more than a do-over of what others are now doing, but the active investigation of the key unknown: the nature of life.

The James Webb Space Telescope maintained its extraordinary budget support despite major development setbacks and delays largely because of its science goals probing the mysteries of the universe, and its ability to observe planets around other stars (exoplanets) for signs of life. Today, few wring their hands about the cost as they enjoy the plethora of results from the telescope. Samples from Mars are to be explored for equally compelling reasons – searching for extraterrestrial life and unraveling the mysteries of planetary evolution. Unfortunately, the planetary science community have been remiss in explaining that as part of their mission development, relying instead on citing the priority of the mission to themselves.

The nature of and uniqueness of life on Earth has occupied society for all of human history. Through folklore, religion, stories, literature and finally through science, humankind has wondered, and occasionally worried, about whether life is unique or ubiquitous. We wonder about and devote significant intellectual resources to questions of its origin and evolution, and equally, about its destiny. Earth is our only example – we can only theorize about life elsewhere. Except, with Mars, we explore the conditions of life to see if it formed there, how and if it did not, why? Mars is the only accessible other world for us with a surface, atmosphere and water. Bringing samples of that surface into our laboratories here on Earth will reveal much about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. There is no more relevant experiment to the detection of extraterrestrial life than analyzing the carefully selected samples from the proposed NASA-ESA mission.

NASA’s “no” to Mars Sample Return is couched in bureaucratic double-speak. But its real bottom line meaning is: No to American space leadership; no to space science and technology development; no to seeking to understand life in the universe and its relation to us on Earth. Perhaps public interest in all of these can turn NASA around. Will we try?

Louis Friedman is the co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of The Planetary Society. Prior to that he was Manager of Advanced Programs and the post-Viking Mars Program at JPL.

 

skywatcher

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NASA’s no to Mars

Louis Friedman April 17, 2024

In a stumbling statement this week, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson presented the NASA position on Mars Sample Return: “The bottom line is that $11 billion is too expensive and not returning samples until 2040 is unacceptably too long,” he said April 15. Actually, it was his top line — NASA had already signaled they would not support Mars Sample Return (MSR) — indeed the budget decision had been made a couple of months ago and had resulted in layoffs of much of the MSR workforce.

Nelson’s line (top or bottom) was disingenuous. The 2040 date is a NASA marketing date for its human program, and has no reality for the actual development of a human mission to Mars. Just look at the already existing delays in the Artemis program before it even starts work on a human lunar landing. Similarly, the $11 billion ought not to be a problem for the agency spending nearly ten times that much on Artemis, and likely will require 50 times that much for humans to go to Mars. Nelson cited wanting the samples back before a human mission to Mars; 2040 would be just fine. Furthermore, it is not the samples that are a precursor to the engineering development of the human Mars mission — it is the robotic MSR itself with the entry, descent, landing, ascent, rendezvous and docking, and Earth return that all precursors. They would be part of the development. Now they are likely to not be relevant, as scaled down “heritage” of what we have done before. In fact, the most likely outcome is more delay or outright ceasing Mars exploration altogether.

NASA does not care about MSR because it wants to protect Artemis. NASA would not even allow the Independent Review Board to state that MSR was in the U.S. national interest. Yet, it is. We lead the world in space because of what we have done in the solar system. Now, it appears, that torch will pass to China. A headline last month in a Chinese newspaper read, “China’s Mars sample return mission ‘progressing smoothly’ while Nasa struggles behind schedule.” The arena for American technology development is not old-fashioned rockets and space suits. It is robotics, intonation processing, artificial intelligence, sensors and instruments. And the rationale for space exploration should be more than a do-over of what others are now doing, but the active investigation of the key unknown: the nature of life.

The James Webb Space Telescope maintained its extraordinary budget support despite major development setbacks and delays largely because of its science goals probing the mysteries of the universe, and its ability to observe planets around other stars (exoplanets) for signs of life. Today, few wring their hands about the cost as they enjoy the plethora of results from the telescope. Samples from Mars are to be explored for equally compelling reasons – searching for extraterrestrial life and unraveling the mysteries of planetary evolution. Unfortunately, the planetary science community have been remiss in explaining that as part of their mission development, relying instead on citing the priority of the mission to themselves.

The nature of and uniqueness of life on Earth has occupied society for all of human history. Through folklore, religion, stories, literature and finally through science, humankind has wondered, and occasionally worried, about whether life is unique or ubiquitous. We wonder about and devote significant intellectual resources to questions of its origin and evolution, and equally, about its destiny. Earth is our only example – we can only theorize about life elsewhere. Except, with Mars, we explore the conditions of life to see if it formed there, how and if it did not, why? Mars is the only accessible other world for us with a surface, atmosphere and water. Bringing samples of that surface into our laboratories here on Earth will reveal much about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. There is no more relevant experiment to the detection of extraterrestrial life than analyzing the carefully selected samples from the proposed NASA-ESA mission.

NASA’s “no” to Mars Sample Return is couched in bureaucratic double-speak. But its real bottom line meaning is: No to American space leadership; no to space science and technology development; no to seeking to understand life in the universe and its relation to us on Earth. Perhaps public interest in all of these can turn NASA around. Will we try?

Louis Friedman is the co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of The Planetary Society. Prior to that he was Manager of Advanced Programs and the post-Viking Mars Program at JPL.

Mars Sample Return is definitely the most important robotic mission by this decade and Crewed Lunar Landing is the most important human mission. Stay tuned.
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Space is no longer exclusive to an elite club.
i_f25.png
2024 may be an inflection point of this great transition in this great era.
Space will remain exclusive to elite club. It is just space sector will revolutionize at levels of automotive/electronic sector in these countries to a degree that it will be nearly impossible for non-space fairing countries to ever catch up.
 

skywatcher

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Space will remain exclusive to elite club. It is just space sector will revolutionize at levels of automotive/electronic sector in these countries to a degree that it will be nearly impossible for non-space fairing countries to ever catch up.
What I mean is it's not only limited to state-owned space agencies. All the rocket technologies were already shared globally for free.
 

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Update: Major events for the rest of 2024

25 Apr 2024 CASC Long March 2F Shenzhou-18 crewed mission to CSS
3 May 2024 CASC Long March 5 Chang'e 6 lunar sample return
4 May 2024 Gilmour Space Eris first orbital flight
7 May 2024 ULA Atlas 5 Boeing starliner first crewed test flight
(TBD)May SpaceX Starship Flight 4
3 June 2024 Roscosmos Soyuz Progress cargo mission to ISS
(TBD)June 2024 Arianespace Ariane 6 first orbital flight
(TBD)June 2024 ULA Vulcan Centaur first Dream Chaser cargo mission to ISS
(TBD)June 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 crewed mission to ISS
(TBD)July 2024 ISRO LVM 3 Gaganyaan 1 first uncrewed Gaganyaan flight test
(TBD)July 2024 Space Pioneer Tianlong-3 first orbital flight
(TBD)Aug 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew-9 crewed mission to ISS
11 Sept 2024 Roscosmos Soyuz MS-26 crewed mission to ISS
(TBD)Q3 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Firefly Blue Ghost lunar lander
(TBD)Q3 2024 Skyroot Aerospace Vikram 1 first orbital flight
8 Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 ESA Hera Asteroid orbiter
10 Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon Heavy NASA Europa Clipper Jupiter orbiter
(TBD)Oct 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 AX-4 crewed mission
(TBD)Nov 2024 CASC Long March 2F Shenzhou-19 crewed mission to CSS
(TBD)Nov 2024 CASC Long March 7 Tianzhou-8 cargo mission to CSS
(TBD)Nov 2024 Galactic Energy Pallas-1 first orbital flight
(TBD)Nov 2024 SpaceX Falcon Heavy Griffin lunar lander
(TBD)Dec 2024 Blue Origin New Glenn ESCAPADE Mars orbiters
(TBD)Dec 2024 Rocket Lab Electron Photon & Venus Life Finer Venus flyby & entry
(TBD)Dec 2024 ISRO LVM 3 Gaganyaan 2 second uncrewed Gaganyaan flight test
(TBD)Dec 2024 Deep Blue Aerospace Nebula-1 first orbital flight
(TBD)Dec 2024 CASC Long March 12 first orbital flight
(TBD)Dec 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 IM-2 lunar lander & various rovers
(TBD)Dec 2024 SpaceX Falcon 9 Hakuto-R 2 lunar lander & rover
(TBD)Q4 2024 RFA RFA One first orbital flight

Other possible new launchers without definite launch windows:
(TBD)2024 Argentina TLON Space Aventura I first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Canada Reaction Dynamics Aurora first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 French Venture OS Zéphyr first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Germany Isar Aerospace Spectrum first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Germany HyImpulse SL1 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 Russia VKS RF Rokot first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 South Korea Perigee Aerospace Blue Whale 1 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 South Korea Innospace Hanbit-Nano first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 UK Skyrora Skyrora XL first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 UK Orbex Prime first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Astra Rocket 4.0 first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Aevum Ravn X first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Phantom Space Daytona first orbital flight
(TBD)2024 US Rocket Lab Neutron first orbital flight
 

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Astra considered bankruptcy as it struggled to raise cash

WASHINGTON — Spacecraft propulsion and launch vehicle company Astra Space considered filing for bankruptcy several times in recent months as the company struggled to raise cash.

The company, which announced plans March 7 to go private in a deal with the company’s founders, released a delayed Form 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission April 18.

In the filing, Astra reported nearly $3.9 million in revenue for 2023 and a net loss of $178.4 million. The company had $9.4 million in revenue in 2022 and a net loss of $411.4 million.

The company’s 2023 revenue came exclusively from its space products unit, which produces electric propulsion systems called Astra Spacecraft Engines. The company, which shelved its Rocket 3 small launch vehicle in 2022, reported no launch revenue in 2023.

In the filing, the company disclosed that it had produced 34 Astra Spacecraft Engines to date for eight customers, with 10 of those thrusters on spacecraft now in orbit. “We continue to attempt to scale production of our Astra Spacecraft Engines but have incurred program delays and resource constraints,” the company stated in the filing.

In the Form 10-K filing and other documents, the company revealed that it has come close several times in recent months to filing for bankruptcy. “At various points during the second half of 2023 and thus far in 2024, the Company has considered and even begun preparations to file for voluntary relief under either Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code because the Company faced an inability to fund its ongoing operations,” it stated. A Chapter 11 filing would allow the company to continue operations and reorganize, while a Chapter 7 filing would result in liquidation of the company.

An April 8 filing with the SEC, describing its plans to go private, provided more details about those bankruptcy considerations. That included a Nov. 3 meeting of a special committee of the company’s board that “considered whether it should recommend immediately furloughing all employees and prepare for an emergency bankruptcy filing,” instructing company management to make those preparations while it worked to line up additional financing, which it did a few days later.

Astra continued consideration of a potential bankruptcy filing after the company’s founders, Chris Kemp and Adam London, submitted a proposal Nov. 8 to take the company private at an original price of $1.50 per share. By mid-January, the company’s board decided to simultaneously plan for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing while negotiating a deal to take the company private since Astra “was in dire need of cash.”

The board again considered a bankruptcy filing at a Feb. 22 meeting, where management recommended furloughing employees other than those needed with bankruptcy planning no later than Feb. 26 as the board engaged a law firm to prepare for a Chapter 7 filing. Around that time, Kemp and London submitted a revised, far lower offer to take the company private while also offering $300,000 “in order to avert an immediate furlough of the Company’s employees.”

The board’s special committee was informed at a March 5 meeting that if the company did not accept the revised offer and interim financing associated with it, all of Astra’s remaining cash would be used in the next day to cover payroll and insurance liabilities and to make Chapter 7 filing preparations. The deal to go private was approved and announced March 7.

The board approved the deal because it concluded it had nothing to lose by doing since the only alternative was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to filings: “executing the Revised Take Private Proposal – even if it ultimately did not close – was preferrable to filing for Chapter 7 Liquidation imminently.”

That deal has yet to close. At the time of the announcement, Astra said it expected the deal to be completed and the company taken private in the second quarter, and the latest SEC filings did not update that schedule.

The April 8 filing did include projections about the company’s future finances developed in February. It projected nearly $5 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2024, with quarterly revenues reaching a peaking $22.4 million in the second quarter of 2025. Those projections also assume the company would resume launches in 2025, launching once a quarter.

However, Riveron, the company brought in by Astra to assist it during its consideration of various financing options, dismissed those projections as “optimistic and not likely to be achieved,” according to the SEC filing. Those projections included assumptions such as raising $90 million in the first quarter of 2024. According to its 10-K filing, the company has raised $13.9 million since the end of December.



 

skywatcher

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Astra considered bankruptcy as it struggled to raise cash

WASHINGTON — Spacecraft propulsion and launch vehicle company Astra Space considered filing for bankruptcy several times in recent months as the company struggled to raise cash.

The company, which announced plans March 7 to go private in a deal with the company’s founders, released a delayed Form 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission April 18.

In the filing, Astra reported nearly $3.9 million in revenue for 2023 and a net loss of $178.4 million. The company had $9.4 million in revenue in 2022 and a net loss of $411.4 million.

The company’s 2023 revenue came exclusively from its space products unit, which produces electric propulsion systems called Astra Spacecraft Engines. The company, which shelved its Rocket 3 small launch vehicle in 2022, reported no launch revenue in 2023.

In the filing, the company disclosed that it had produced 34 Astra Spacecraft Engines to date for eight customers, with 10 of those thrusters on spacecraft now in orbit. “We continue to attempt to scale production of our Astra Spacecraft Engines but have incurred program delays and resource constraints,” the company stated in the filing.

In the Form 10-K filing and other documents, the company revealed that it has come close several times in recent months to filing for bankruptcy. “At various points during the second half of 2023 and thus far in 2024, the Company has considered and even begun preparations to file for voluntary relief under either Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code because the Company faced an inability to fund its ongoing operations,” it stated. A Chapter 11 filing would allow the company to continue operations and reorganize, while a Chapter 7 filing would result in liquidation of the company.

An April 8 filing with the SEC, describing its plans to go private, provided more details about those bankruptcy considerations. That included a Nov. 3 meeting of a special committee of the company’s board that “considered whether it should recommend immediately furloughing all employees and prepare for an emergency bankruptcy filing,” instructing company management to make those preparations while it worked to line up additional financing, which it did a few days later.

Astra continued consideration of a potential bankruptcy filing after the company’s founders, Chris Kemp and Adam London, submitted a proposal Nov. 8 to take the company private at an original price of $1.50 per share. By mid-January, the company’s board decided to simultaneously plan for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing while negotiating a deal to take the company private since Astra “was in dire need of cash.”

The board again considered a bankruptcy filing at a Feb. 22 meeting, where management recommended furloughing employees other than those needed with bankruptcy planning no later than Feb. 26 as the board engaged a law firm to prepare for a Chapter 7 filing. Around that time, Kemp and London submitted a revised, far lower offer to take the company private while also offering $300,000 “in order to avert an immediate furlough of the Company’s employees.”

The board’s special committee was informed at a March 5 meeting that if the company did not accept the revised offer and interim financing associated with it, all of Astra’s remaining cash would be used in the next day to cover payroll and insurance liabilities and to make Chapter 7 filing preparations. The deal to go private was approved and announced March 7.

The board approved the deal because it concluded it had nothing to lose by doing since the only alternative was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to filings: “executing the Revised Take Private Proposal – even if it ultimately did not close – was preferrable to filing for Chapter 7 Liquidation imminently.”

That deal has yet to close. At the time of the announcement, Astra said it expected the deal to be completed and the company taken private in the second quarter, and the latest SEC filings did not update that schedule.

The April 8 filing did include projections about the company’s future finances developed in February. It projected nearly $5 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2024, with quarterly revenues reaching a peaking $22.4 million in the second quarter of 2025. Those projections also assume the company would resume launches in 2025, launching once a quarter.

However, Riveron, the company brought in by Astra to assist it during its consideration of various financing options, dismissed those projections as “optimistic and not likely to be achieved,” according to the SEC filing. Those projections included assumptions such as raising $90 million in the first quarter of 2024. According to its 10-K filing, the company has raised $13.9 million since the end of December.



Previously I had a bad hunch abut Astra Space. It could end up like Virgin Orbit.
 

skywatcher

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Astra considered bankruptcy as it struggled to raise cash

WASHINGTON — Spacecraft propulsion and launch vehicle company Astra Space considered filing for bankruptcy several times in recent months as the company struggled to raise cash.

The company, which announced plans March 7 to go private in a deal with the company’s founders, released a delayed Form 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission April 18.

In the filing, Astra reported nearly $3.9 million in revenue for 2023 and a net loss of $178.4 million. The company had $9.4 million in revenue in 2022 and a net loss of $411.4 million.

The company’s 2023 revenue came exclusively from its space products unit, which produces electric propulsion systems called Astra Spacecraft Engines. The company, which shelved its Rocket 3 small launch vehicle in 2022, reported no launch revenue in 2023.

In the filing, the company disclosed that it had produced 34 Astra Spacecraft Engines to date for eight customers, with 10 of those thrusters on spacecraft now in orbit. “We continue to attempt to scale production of our Astra Spacecraft Engines but have incurred program delays and resource constraints,” the company stated in the filing.

In the Form 10-K filing and other documents, the company revealed that it has come close several times in recent months to filing for bankruptcy. “At various points during the second half of 2023 and thus far in 2024, the Company has considered and even begun preparations to file for voluntary relief under either Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code because the Company faced an inability to fund its ongoing operations,” it stated. A Chapter 11 filing would allow the company to continue operations and reorganize, while a Chapter 7 filing would result in liquidation of the company.

An April 8 filing with the SEC, describing its plans to go private, provided more details about those bankruptcy considerations. That included a Nov. 3 meeting of a special committee of the company’s board that “considered whether it should recommend immediately furloughing all employees and prepare for an emergency bankruptcy filing,” instructing company management to make those preparations while it worked to line up additional financing, which it did a few days later.

Astra continued consideration of a potential bankruptcy filing after the company’s founders, Chris Kemp and Adam London, submitted a proposal Nov. 8 to take the company private at an original price of $1.50 per share. By mid-January, the company’s board decided to simultaneously plan for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing while negotiating a deal to take the company private since Astra “was in dire need of cash.”

The board again considered a bankruptcy filing at a Feb. 22 meeting, where management recommended furloughing employees other than those needed with bankruptcy planning no later than Feb. 26 as the board engaged a law firm to prepare for a Chapter 7 filing. Around that time, Kemp and London submitted a revised, far lower offer to take the company private while also offering $300,000 “in order to avert an immediate furlough of the Company’s employees.”

The board’s special committee was informed at a March 5 meeting that if the company did not accept the revised offer and interim financing associated with it, all of Astra’s remaining cash would be used in the next day to cover payroll and insurance liabilities and to make Chapter 7 filing preparations. The deal to go private was approved and announced March 7.

The board approved the deal because it concluded it had nothing to lose by doing since the only alternative was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to filings: “executing the Revised Take Private Proposal – even if it ultimately did not close – was preferrable to filing for Chapter 7 Liquidation imminently.”

That deal has yet to close. At the time of the announcement, Astra said it expected the deal to be completed and the company taken private in the second quarter, and the latest SEC filings did not update that schedule.

The April 8 filing did include projections about the company’s future finances developed in February. It projected nearly $5 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2024, with quarterly revenues reaching a peaking $22.4 million in the second quarter of 2025. Those projections also assume the company would resume launches in 2025, launching once a quarter.

However, Riveron, the company brought in by Astra to assist it during its consideration of various financing options, dismissed those projections as “optimistic and not likely to be achieved,” according to the SEC filing. Those projections included assumptions such as raising $90 million in the first quarter of 2024. According to its 10-K filing, the company has raised $13.9 million since the end of December.



Q: Should SpaceX be partially responsible for the demise of these small space launch startups?
i_f25.png
 

skywatcher

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Remember Astra's ambition of 300+ orbital launches per year?View attachment 249298
View attachment 249297
This Chinese launch startup named Space Pioneer says they're gonna launch their super heavy rocket Tianlong-3 Heavy with a payload capacity of 68 t to LEO as early as 2026. Their schedule is ridiculously aggressive. They have only 30 months to achieve that goal. Stay tuned.
i_f25.png

006CtVYRgy1hoxgcmw784j31mb0u049c.jpg
 
Last edited:

Indx TechStyle

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All the rocket technologies were already shared globally for free.
LOL? :laugh: Care to explain and exemplify.

Rocket tech is dual use and its circulation is highly regulated even in private sector within a country, leave alone international levels where sales beyond certain collaborative control regimes does not happen.

And adding the infra requirement, space will always remain to elite club until one world government.
 

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