Issue No. 202

The Orbital Index

Issue No. 202 | Jan 18, 2023

🚀 🌍 🛰

RS1 suffered a launch failure. LauncherOne, unfortunately, seems to have started a trend, with ABL Space System’s RS1 rocket failing on launch less than 24 hours later. The vehicle “experienced an anomaly and shut down prematurely,” with all 9 engines cutting out simultaneously, causing the rocket to fall back to the pad and explode, damaging ground equipment (fortunately no people were harmed). A mushroom cloud rising at sunset over picturesque Alaskan mountains isn’t an ideal outcome if you’re an early-stage launch startup. RS1 is a two-stage rocket—with nine kerolox E2 engines on the first stage and one vacuum-optimized E2 engine on the upper stage—which will hopefully lift 1,350 kg to LEO when it returns to the pad after a thorough investigation.

RS1 looking majestic, shortly before exploding.💥

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(Short) Papers.

The floor of Gale Crater is visible in the distance at the top of this image taken by Curiosity. Gale Crater is near a region called Aeolis Dorsa which may once have been a massive ocean.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

News in brief. Russia is planning to launch an uncrewed Soyuz to the ISS next month to act as a lifeboat for the two cosmonauts and one astronaut potentially stranded by last month’s micrometeorite strike on the exterior coolant loop of Soyuz MS-22 SpaceX launched another Falcon Heavy, delivering a second round of classified US Space Force payloads directly to GSO—this required expending the heavy lift rocket’s center booster, while both side boosters performed launch enthusiasts’ favorite synchronized return and landing Capella Space raised a $60M growth equity round—the company currently has 7 SAR satellites in orbit with more planned World View Space, developer of high altitude balloons for science and tourism, announced a $350M SPAC Toronto-based startup Magnestar raised a $1.1M pre-seed for a radio frequency interference avoidance platform Stell raised a $3.1M pre-seed to develop a supplier workflow platform for the aerospace industry NASA’s Lunar Flashlight, on its way to the Moon, is having some underperformance issues with its experimental Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-Toxic (ASCENT)-fueled thrusters The first ULA Vulcan Centaur is now on its way to the launch site A Chinese Long March-2D took 14 satellites to orbit SpaceX may be aiming for a Starship 33-engine static fire test on Jan 20th GOES West (née GOES-18) is now operational (cf. Issue No. 111).

The Earth, as seen by GOES-18, with a bomb cyclone heading for California.



“I have never seen a work of fiction so perfectly capture the out-of-nowhere shock of discovering that you've just bricked something important because you didn't pay enough attention to a loose wire.” XKCD #1536

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