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Thread: Small Rocket Launches

  1. #31
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    We read a lot of reports on small rocket development in the USA. Here is a report from Forbes of what is happening in the Asia/pacific region.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/saadiam.../#28d2fe9bbd94

    The market for small satellites looms large, with about 2,600 expected to go into orbit over the next five years. In 2017, over 300 nano/microsatellites were launched, surpassing previous expectations and predictions. The question is which rockets will help meet the subsequent surge in launch demand in the years ahead.

    While SpaceX rockets may grab headlines and galvanize high policy talk of space leadership by the United States, the present and emerging rocket activities in the Asia-Pacific suggest we need to rethink the prospects for any one launcher, company, or established power dominating the scene.

  2. #32
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    India plans to be a major player in the small rocket business with plans to build mini PSLVs that can be built in 3 days. The payload capacity will be 500 to 700kg.

    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...elated_Stories

    In a development that will revolutionalise the satellite launch system in the country, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is developing a small launch vehicle that can be assembled in just three days as compared to 30-40 days for a normal-sized PSLV and can be built at a cost which will be just one-tenth the original manufacturing cost of a PSLV. The manufacturing cost of a launch vehicle is generally in the range of Rs 150 crore to Rs 500 crore across the world.

    Dr K Sivan, director of Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC),on the sidelines of an international seminar on 'Indian Space Programme' told TOI, "Isro is busy developing a small launch vehicle which is likely to be ready for launch probably by 2018-end or early-2019. The cost of this vehicle will get drastically reduced by one-tenth of the manufacturing cost of a normal PSLV. However, this rocket will have the total payload capacity of 500 to 700 kg and can launch satellites only up to the polar sun-synchronous orbit or near-earth orbit (500-700 km in altitude)."

  3. #33
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    China too is hoping to be a major player in the small rocket business.

    http://www.ecns.cn/2018/03-19/296184.shtml

    China plans to develop micro solid-propellant carrier rockets for commercial use to meet growing needs for launching micro-nano satellites.

    China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) said that its subsidiary company, China Rocket, was in the process of appraising the plan.

    "The micro rockets will be developed with strong ability, high precision, low cost and a short launch preparation cycle," according to a CALT online statement.

    In general, small solid-propellant rockets have a carrying capacity of 100-500 kilograms. The micro-solid rockets are more flexible and cost-efficient, according to the CALT.
    http://spacenews.com/smallsat-launch...nese-vehicles/

    Companies that are developing small launch vehicles or who provide rideshare launch services say they expect new Chinese launch vehicles to drive down launch prices, raising concerns among some of unfair competition.

    During a panel discussion at the Satellite 2018 conference here March 12, executives of several launch providers said they expected small launchers under development or entering service in China, either by state-owned enterprises or private ventures, to sharply reduce launch prices in the coming years.

    “I think the Chinese are going to drive an order of magnitude reduction in launch costs, building satellites and operating satellites. That will happen in the next five years,” said Rich Pournelle, vice president of business development for NanoRacks, a company that offers rideshare launch services for smallsats, primarily from the International Space Station.

    Pournelle said that there are already signs of price pressure on launches. “Cubesats that used to cost $350,000–400,000 to launch are now $250,000 and going down,” he said. “You’re seeing a tremendous pressure from Asia, especially, on the launch side.”

  4. #34
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    Another article that says we are at the dawn of small rockets.

    https://www.airspacemag.com/as-next/...one-180968351/

    With a flawless launch and the successful release of four small satellites in low Earth orbit, Rocket Lab’s new Electron rocket nailed its final tryout on January 21. “We’re done testing,” says company CEO Peter Beck. “We’re ready for full commercial operations.”

    Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab is the first private company dedicated to small satellites—which can be anything from tiny, three-pound CubeSats to spacecraft the size of a washing machine. The two-stage Electron rocket can lift up to 500 pounds to low Earth orbit.

    Until now, smallsats have had to piggyback on rockets delivering larger satellites for better-paying customers, so they rarely got to call the shots. “They have no control over schedule and orbit,” Beck says. Rocket Lab aims to fix that. From the company’s launch pad on the east coast of New Zealand, rockets can reach a wide range of altitudes and inclinations to the equator to suit the smallsat customer’s needs.

    The potential market is huge. Today an estimated 200 small satellites are launched per year; Swedish space technology company AAC Microtec estimates that by 2023, the number will rise to more than 500. CubeSats, which have become much more sophisticated in the last decade, will make up a large percentage of the increase, and are one “target market” for the Electron “but not the only one,” according to a Rocket Lab spokesperson.

  5. #35
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    Now a report that says that are just too many small rocket launch companies. They expect 80 to 90% to close shop.

    http://spacenews.com/industry-warns-...-vehicle-glut/

    The launch industry is facing a shakeout in the coming years that could result in the failure of the vast majority of companies developing new vehicles, industry executives warned at a conference.

    Panelists in opening sessions of the Space Tech Expo conference here May 22 said they expect most of the current launch ventures to go out of business for one reason or another, primarily due to insufficient demand.

    “There are way too many” companies in the launch market, said Greg Jones, senior vice president of business development and strategy for Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Eighty or ninety percent won’t make it to the end. Maybe there’s room for a dozen launch vehicles worldwide or something on that level.”

    That surge of development is concentrated at the small end of the vehicle spectrum, with dozens of vehicles in various stages of design or testing. “It reflects the excitement going on in the small satellite market,” said Stephen Eisele, Vice President

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Now a report that says that are just too many small rocket launch companies. They expect 80 to 90% to close shop.

    http://spacenews.com/industry-warns-...-vehicle-glut/
    Now a report this week, in The Space Review saying the same thing.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3503/1

    For now, those launches are all planned for the company’s New Zealand site, but Schneider said the company is looking at options for a second site in the United States. “We want to fly out of [the continental U.S.] as well,” he said. “We are on an active campaign right now looking to identify the right area, the right site, that will meet our near-term objectives.” He didn’t identify any specific sites, but said later the company’s interest is primarily in facilities on the East Coast.

    Rocket Lab is not the only small launch vehicle company with ambitious plans for this summer (or, in New Zealand, this winter.) Virgin Orbit expects to perform the first mission of its LauncherOne vehicle, launched from its Boeing 747 carrier aircraft, later this summer.

    “We are currently in the final qual stages for our Newton 3 and Newton 4 engines,” said Stephen Eisele, vice president of Virgin Orbit, during a panel session at the Space Tech Expo conference last Tuesday in Pasadena, California. Those engines power the first and second stages, respectively, of LauncherOne. “In the next month or so, we’re going to do what’s called a ‘captive carry’ test, where we’re going to fly the plane with the rocket attached, for flutter and aerodynamics purposes.”

    If those final tests are successful, he said he expected a “mid-summer” first launch of LauncherOne. The company wants to then most swiftly into regular commercial operations. “We’re going to be ready to engage in that launch cadence from day one,” he said. “It’ll be a launch a month, two launches a month.”

    “We’re planning on 12 launches a year” next year, said Virgin Orbit’s Monica Jan in a presentation at ISDC last Friday. “The year after will be 24.” While Virgin Orbit will initially stage those launches out of the Mojave Air and Space Port, she said the company was looking at other sites, including the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center and an unspecified location in the Pacific, in order to support launches to any desired inclination.

    Vector is another company planning a first orbital launch of its vehicle as soon as this summer. The company said earlier this year that its first Vector-R launch was scheduled for as soon as this August from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska, located on Kodiak Island.

  7. #37
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    China to pose strong competition in the small rocket segment. It hopes to be able launch within 24 hours after arriving at the launch site. It will also deliver the rocket in 6 months after the contract is signed.

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/201..._137359970.htm

    China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) on Tuesday unveiled its micro rocket the Lightning Dragon No.1.

    The rocket, the first in the Lightning Dragon series, could have a carrying capacity of no less than 150 kilograms and operate on the sun-synchronous orbit, said CASC.

    The rocket is capable of launching within 24 hours after arriving at the launch site. It can be delivered to the customer six months after the signing of the contract.

    It is now under development by Chinarocket Co., Ltd. under CASC.

  8. #38
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    "Landspace of China to launch first rocket in Q4 2018"

    https://spacenews.com/landspace-of-c...et-in-q4-2018/

    Emerging private Chinese company Landspace is set to launch its first rocket into orbit in the final quarter of 2018, carrying a small satellite for a state television company.

    Landspace announced Aug. 2 that*** the three-stage solid-propellant LandSpace rocket, named Zhuque-1, will carry the China Central Television (CCTV) satellite for space science experiments and remote sensing before the end of the year.

  9. #39
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    Vega, ESA's contribution to the small rocket launches.

    https://spacenews.com/vegas-long-awa...all-successes/

    Although the mostly Italian Vega rocket was added to the Arianespace family in 2012, it’s only recently achieved tangible success in wooing the smallest spacecraft operators.

    The reasons are twofold. First, Vega is about to get an adapter that can fit cubesats and microsats up to 400 kilograms inside the rocket’s payload fairing. The second is lower prices.

    This year, Arianespace signed four customers for the first flight the new adapter, the Small Spacecraft Mission System, or SMSS.

  10. #40
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    Latest report from for small orbital class rocket launchers say only 4 launch vehicles have entered service since 2015. 3 Chinese and one New Zealand.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2018/effort...et-off-ground/

    The latest “State of the Industry” report for small orbital-class launch vehicles tracks 101 reported efforts to create such rockets, compared with a mere 31 in 2015. But many of those efforts are defunct or in limbo, Northrop Grumman’s Carlos Niederstrasser said today at the SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah. “We’re definitely starting to see attrition” in the industry, he said. Niederstrasser said only four small launch vehicles have entered service since 2015: three Chinese rockets and Rocket Lab’s Electron.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2018-Aug-10 at 10:56 AM.

  11. #41
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    Japan is also joining the crowd developing small orbital class rocket launchers.

    https://spacenews.com/japans-interst...rbital-rocket/

    Japanese startup Interstellar Technologies is developing the main engine for an orbital rocket designed to carry 100 kilograms and slated to conduct its initial test flight in 2020.

    “Our goal this year is to complete component testing for the regeneratively cooled main combustion chamber, turbopump and gas generator, and to perform an integrated firing test in early 2019,” Uematsu Chiharu, project manager for Interstellar Technology’s suborbital Momo rocket, told SpaceNews at the Small Satellite Conference here. “We already have all the key technologies.”

    Interstellar Technologies is raising money for its orbital rocket, tentatively called Zero. Japanese investors have contributed “a few million” dollars to date but the firm will need additional funding to begin commercial service in 2021, said Ken Terakawa, structural engineer, for Interstellar Technologies of Hokkaido, Japan.

  12. #42
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    Shu Chang at 32 years old, is already being called China's Elon Musk. Read about him and the reason for the comparison.

    http://www.ecns.cn/news/sci-tech/201...w2289772.shtml

    OneSpace Technology CEO Shu Chang's 4-year-old daughter often tells her kindergarten classmates that her father "makes giant rockets".

    The entrepreneur and his wife have repeatedly told their daughter not to "show off", but she has good reason to be proud. Shu founded China's best-known private rocket maker three years ago and is often compared to Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX in the United States.

    Shu, 32, led the employees at OneSpace-the first private enterprise in China licensed to design and make carrier rockets-in the successful production of a small rocket launched in mid-May. The success generated a wave of media reports about Shu and his company, with many articles calling the Beijing startup China's answer to SpaceX.

  13. #43
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    "Chinese rocket maker OneSpace secures $44m in funding; Expace prepares for commercial launch"

    https://spacenews.com/chinese-rocket...ercial-launch/

    Chinese private launch vehicle maker OneSpace has secured $43.6 million in Series B financing as the company looks to its first orbital launch near the end of 2018.

    The financing was led by CICC Jiatai Equity Fund, followed by FinTrek Capital, with China Merchants Venture Capital, Qianhai Wande Fund and Qianhai Wutong M&A Fund also increasing their investment in the company.

    This fourth round of financing takes the total raised since the founding of OneSpace in August 2015 to $116 million.

  14. #44
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    Small Spacecraft Mission System, or SMSS.
    Small Maceraft Spission System?

  15. #45
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    This article is about small satellites but the boom in that area has a direct impact for demand for small rocket launches.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3552/1

    The debate regarding whether smallsats in general, and CubeSats in particular, have any utility beyond simply the experience gained by building them has long since ended. A growing number of companies have demonstrated they can create moneymaking businesses by building large numbers of such satellites for imaging, asset tracking, and other applications. That’s generated ripple effects from growing private investment in such companies to a surge in ventures developing small launch vehicles to launch those satellites.
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  16. #46
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    India plans for its commercial industries to be building its small rockets from the beginning. Unlike the PSLV and GSLV which has built inhouse by ISRO.

    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...w/65596545.cms

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and its commercial arm Antrix are working on a model that aims to have industries build the proposed Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs) from the very beginning, unlike the PSLV and GSLV platforms.
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  17. #47
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    https://arxiv.org/abs/1808.09848

    The Nice Cube (Nice3) nanosatellite project

    F. Millour, S. Ottogalli, M. Maamri, A. Stibbe, F. Ferrero, L. Rolland, S. Rebeyrolle, A. Marcotto, K. Agabi, M. Beaulieu, M. Benabdesselam, J.-B. Caillau, F. Cauneau, L. Deneire, F. Mady, D. Mary, A. Memin, G. Metris, J.-B. Pomet, O. Preis, R. Staraj, E. Ait Lachgar, D. Baltazar, B. Gao, M. Deroo, B. Gieudes, M. Jiang, T. Livio de Miranda Pinto Filho, M. Languery, O. Petiot, A. Thevenon
    (Submitted on 29 Aug 2018)

    CubeSats are tiny satellites with increasing capabilities. They have been used for more than a decade by universities to train students on space technologies, in a hands-on project aiming at building, launching and operating a real satellite. Still today, one shortcoming of CubeSats is their poor ability to transmit large amounts of data to the ground. A possible way to overcome this limitation relies on optical communications. Universite Cote d'Azur is studying the feasibility of a student's CubeSat whose main goal is to transmit data with an optical link to the ground at the moderate rate of 1 kb/s (or better). In this paper, we will present the current state of the project and its future developments.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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  18. #48
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    Landspace to launch its first rocket next month. Article carries details of the rocket.

    https://spacenews.com/landspace-of-c...et-in-q4-2018/

    Emerging private Chinese company Landspace is set to launch its first rocket into orbit in the final quarter of 2018, carrying a small satellite for a state television company.

    Landspace announced Aug. 2 that*** the three-stage solid-propellant LandSpace rocket, named Zhuque-1, will carry the China Central Television (CCTV) satellite for space science experiments and remote sensing before the end of the year.

    It is expected to be China’s first private orbital launch with the privately developed satellite to operate for two years in a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). Measuring 320 by 295 by 248 millimeters, the satellite is roughly the size of a three-unit cubesat.
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  19. #49
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    https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.00667

    On the Verge of an Astronomy CubeSat Revolution

    Evgenya L. Shkolnik
    (Submitted on 3 Sep 2018)

    CubeSats are small satellites built in standard sizes and form factors, which have been growing in popularity but have thus far been largely ignored within the field of astronomy. When deployed as space-based telescopes, they enable science experiments not possible with existing or planned large space missions, filling several key gaps in astronomical research. Unlike expensive and highly sought-after space telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), whose time must be shared among many instruments and science programs, CubeSats can monitor sources for weeks or months at time, and at wavelengths not accessible from the ground such as the ultraviolet (UV), far-infrared (far-IR) and low-frequency radio. Science cases for CubeSats being developed now include a wide variety of astrophysical experiments, including exoplanets, stars, black holes and radio transients. Achieving high-impact astronomical research with CubeSats is becoming increasingly feasible with advances in technologies such as precision pointing, compact sensitive detectors, and the miniaturisation of propulsion systems if needed. CubeSats may also pair with the large space- and ground-based telescopes to provide complementary data to better explain the physical processes observed.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  20. #50
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    The following article gives a good coverage on small satellites and the choice of small rocket launches and large rockets. It also covers the bottlenecks on the land infrastructure needed to support global coverage.

    https://spacenews.com/op-ed-the-revo...ust-beginning/

    While everybody is rightly celebrating recent successes in commercial space, some long-term trends are just beginning. It is still early days, and significant growth and new opportunities are just around the corner. Perhaps the largest near-term opportunity for commercial space is bridging the digital divide and providing affordable connectivity to the last 2.5 billion on this planet without a phone.

    Thirty years ago, when I joined the commercial space industry, government was still the dominate player in space in many ways. Starting with Rene Anselmo and Panamsat in the 1980s, continuing with Walter Scott and DigitalGlobe in the 1990s, and accelerating with Elon Musk and SpaceX in the 2000s, commercial space methods have taken over sector after sector, and will continue to take over new sectors in the future. For those sectors where commercial space now dominates, innovation has accelerated, large increases in capital efficiency have lowered costs, and new applications have emerged. These trends will continue, particularly driven by the parallel revolutions in smaller, lower-cost satellites and reusable launch vehicles. Commercial space has provided convincing proof that it is much more effective as an approach to solve problems, and it is only a matter of time for additional sectors to make the transition as well.
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  21. #51
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    ESA's small rocket launcher to be enhanced.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Fo...ments_999.html

    Vega is proving its reliability. Based on this heritage, ESA and European industry are building new elements that will increase Vega's performance, capabilities and flexibility from mid-2019.

    A proof of concept flight on Vega of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service is planned for mid-2019. It offers more low cost ride-share launch opportunities into low Earth orbit for small satellites below 500 kg, from CubeSats to microsats and minisats, technology demonstrators to mega-constellations.

    This service is based on a range of specially developed dispensers which will allow launch operator Arianespace at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana to optimise Vega launch capacities.

    This is expected to bring socio-economic benefits to Europe, particularly in the light satellite applications business.
    I am because we are
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