Rocket Report: Ariane 6 workers are “hyperstressed”, SpaceX retorts to Rogozine

Enlarge / There are only five Ariane 5 rockets left before Europe switches to the Ariane 6 vehicle.

Welcome to Rocket Report 4.35! No report next week. We are now one week away from the momentous deployment of the Space Launch System rocket for the first time on the launch pad. I will be taking spring break with my family next week, so there will be no newsletter, but I will be back in time to follow the deployment on Thursday evening, March 17th. Look for full coverage of Trevor Mahlmann and I on Ars Technica following Friday morning.

As always, we Reader Submissions Welcome, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please sign up using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP versions of the site). Each report will contain information on small, medium and heavy rockets as well as a quick overview of the next three launches on the schedule.

Voters Resolutely Reject Spaceport in Georgia. According to unofficial results, 72% of Camden County voters voted on Tuesday to halt the purchase of land for a spaceport in the US state of Georgia, First Coast News reports. This represents a stark (and possibly fatal) setback for the vertical-launch spaceport. The county spent $10.3 million on the project, which has been in the planning stages since 2012. Ahead of the vote, project supporters said the spaceport would create jobs and diversify the county’s economy.

A clear message … However, opponents have pointed out that the land is contaminated with industrial sites that have been housed there in the past, including a former rocket fuel facility. There were also concerns about rockets flying over the national coastline of Cumberland Island. Camden County Officials indicated they may fight that referendum in court, but the fight seems like a tough chore given overwhelming public sentiment against the bill. Beware, defenders of spaceports: make sure the local community is on your side. (submitted by Zapman987, EllPeaTea and Ken the Bin)

Diagnosed Rocket 3.3 second stage issues. Astra Space said on Monday it had identified two issues that led to a failed launch last month, SpaceNews reports. The company said it investigated the Feb. 10 failure of its Rocket 3.3 vehicle to reach orbit. The investigation determined that the root cause was an error in a wiring diagram of the payload shroud that prevented all of its separation mechanisms from firing. This problem prevented the fairing from separating until the upper stage of the rocket, which is encapsulated by the fairing, ignited its engine.

Back to the drawing board … “This harness was built and fitted to the vehicle exactly as specified by our procedures and the technical drawing,” said Andrew Griggs, Senior Director of Mission Management and Assurance at Astra. However, the drawing swapped two wire harness channels. A second issue with the February launch concerned the thrust vector control system on the upper stage. Astra said it fixed those flaws. According to filings, the company could attempt another launch as early as next week. To date, four of the company’s five orbital launch attempts have ended in failure. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

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Iran launches second military satellite. Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, reported tuesday that the company had successfully launched its second military satellite into low Earth orbit. The Noor-2 satellite was placed into an orbit 500 km above Earth by a three-stage rocket named Qased. This rocket previously launched the Noor-1 satellites for the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace wing in 2020.

Not for military purposes? … This feat came after the country struggled to successfully launch other small orbital rockets. Iran, which has long said it is not seeking nuclear weapons, has previously maintained that its satellite launches and rocket tests have no military component, Reports from Radio Free Europe. The launch adds urgency to negotiations between Western countries and Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, the publication said. (submitted by Ken the Bin and EllPeaTea)

First launch from Cornwall to boost Welsh satellite. Virgin Orbit and European space manufacturing start-up Space Forge announced Wednesday they have reached an agreement to launch the first satellite developed in Wales in the summer of 2022. The ForgeStar satellite will be flown on LauncherOne as part of the effort to open the UK’s first national spaceport at Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, Cornwall.

Several firsts … “We at Virgin Orbit are delighted to have been chosen to take Space Forge forward on its space journey as we look forward to our maiden launch in Cornwall,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in a statement. the press release. It would be the first-ever orbital launch from UK soil and the first time LauncherOne would be flown to an air launch location from a spaceport outside the US. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

German feminists launch rocket design on gender equality. A German feminist art group has revealed a concept for a vulva-shaped spaceship, Reports from the architecture magazine Dezeen. The WBF Aeronautics group encourages the European Space Agency to help realize this design to better represent humanity in space and “restore gender equality in the cosmos.” The group created the Vulva Spaceship concept to challenge the convention of, ahem, phallic spaceship design.

This is not the onion … “The project adds another dimension to the depiction of humanity in space and communicates to the world that everyone has a place in the universe, regardless of their genitals,” said the organization. Thanks to this optimized V-shape, the design ensures maximum energy efficiency, the artists said. For the project to be reviewed by the European Space Agency, 500,000 signatures are needed on the website. Thursday afternoon, 663 people had signed. (submitted by HoboWhisperer)

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