Launches, ride-shares and reusability – a busy week

The biggest news regarded the smallest orbital rocket.

Proton launched Monday, Ariane 5 rumbled the Amazon Tuesday, yesterday the Falcon 9 took to the sky, Ms. Tree caught a fairing and today the Atlas 5 gave the onlookers a spectacular show, as it lifted off into the sunrise.

At the same time there has been a steady stream of announcements regarding ride-share opportunities for small satellites – ArianeSpace will offer rides on the Ariane 64 for GEO while customers for SSO can get yearly rides on the Falcon 9 with SpaceX for as little as 2,5 million dollars. Roscosmos soon followed suit and offered similar prices.

The biggest story, though, came from the company that builds the smallest orbital rockets. Chief Executive of RocketLab, Peter Beck announced that the company will make their Electron rocket reusable, something he has earlier dismissed doing, because he thought it impossible. But data from the recent Electron flights have apparently given the RocketLab engineers confidence that it might actually work. Peter Beck stressed that the goal for the company right now is to produce a flight-ready booster once a week. Reusability will help the company speed up the flow of boosters going to the launch pad.

I made a short video with the things I found most interesting about the announcement.

Eric Berger of Ars Technica has since interviewed Peter Beck about the announcement.

“We have some very unique aerodynamic decelerators that we’ll be employing to control the reentry but also to scrub the velocity,” Peter Beck told Eric Berger.

I’m very intrigued to see what these decelerators are and I don’t think he was talking about the ballute that was shown in the video.

It’s been a busy week in space so far. In the meantime SpaceX continues work on Starship, NASAs work on SLS and Artemis progresses, Europe is moving closer to getting its own space port. Space will continue to get busier.

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