Welcome to Edition 4.46 of the Rocket Report! This report is coming to you a day early because I’ll be on vacation for a while—long enough that there may not be a newsletter next week. We’ll see. In terms of happenings I’m likely to miss, look for the Federal Aviation Administration to finally decide on SpaceX’s Starship launch site in South Texas by next Monday.
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.
France picks two small launch companies. As part of its France 2030 economic development plan, the European country seeks to provide technical and financial support to develop a nascent small launch industry. More than a dozen companies applied in a competitive bid process, and last Friday, two companies were named. According to Challenges, HyPrSpace and Sirius Space Services won. Amazingly, HyPrSpace’s first rocket will be named Baguette-one. They are instantly my favorite rocket company ever.
No half-baked plans … The value of the awards was not disclosed, but in calling for projects, the government said it would provide 400,000 euros to 1.2 million euros in the initiation phase, then from 1.2 to 5 million euros for the development phase. The French government has also said it would provide payloads for the first launches of these companies. In Europe, France trails Germany and Great Britain in developing a new space commercial launch industry.
Terran 1 rocket arrives in Florida. Relativity Space chief executive Tim Ellis tweeted on Sunday that the first stage of the company’s Terran 1 rocket had arrived at its integration and launch facilities in Florida. Relativity plans to conduct first stage testing in Florida, which will take place over the next few months. After assembling the first and second stages, along with the rocket’s nose cone, teams at Launch Complex-16 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base will complete fit checks to make sure the pad hardware correctly accommodates the rocket, Florida Today reports.
Having fun in the Sun … A launch is unlikely to occur before fall, but Ellis has said he is confident that Terran 1 will fly this year. The Terran 1 is designed to carry 1.25 tons to low Earth orbit for $12 million. To focus solely on reaching orbit, Relativity Space has not put an operational payload on top of Terran 1. The company has also shown some cheek in naming the mission, calling it “Good Luck, Have Fun.” We hope they have both luck and fun. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Vega-C launch date set. The European Space Agency has set a July 7 target to launch its new Vega-C rocket. The launch is currently planned to take off from the European spaceport in French Guiana, at 11:13 UTC, the space agency said. The single-body, 35-meter tall solid rocket can lift 2.2 metric tons into a 700 km polar orbit.
More bang for the buck … The Vega-C replaces the Vega rocket, offering about 50 percent more performance for a comparable price, estimated to be $37 million. For this debut flight, Vega-C will carry as its primary payload the LARES-2 satellite, a scientific mission of the Italian Space Agency. Six CubeSats built by European universities and research establishments will fly as secondary payloads. (submitted by Ken the Bin)