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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
ESA BEGINS P120C HOT FIRE TESTS
Monday, July 16, 2018
Click image for a larger picture

P120C being moved to the test stand for hot fire testing

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace


P120C being moved to the test stand for hot fire testing

Source: ESA/CNES/Arianespace


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KOUROU, French Guiana - A hot fire test of the P120C on July 16 at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana demonstrated the solid-propellant motor's flight-worthiness. The test lasted 135 seconds simulating the complete burn time from liftoff and through the first phase of flight.

No anomalies were seen and the performance met expectations, though full analysis will take several months. Sensors gathered data on 600 different measures during the test.

The P120C was installed on the test stand in Kourou last week.

Based on the P80 solid rocket motor used on the Vega, the P120C is 13.5 meters long and 3.4 meters in diameter. It contains 142 metric tons of solid propellant, providing 4,615 kN of thrust in a vacuum. ESA plans to use the P120C as the main engine on its Vega-C lightweight launch vehicle and as the side-mounted boosters aboard the Ariane 6. Either two or four P120Cs can be strapped onto an Ariane 6, depending on mission requirements.

All main components of the motor such as nozzle, igniter, solid propellant, and insulated motor case have already been tested separately. This static firing will prove these technologies, materials and production techniques in combination and validate the behavior of the assembled motor.

Companies like SpaceX have moved into the launch industry, offering significantly lower prices than were available in the past. ESA is working to develop common components for use aboard multiple space platforms to improve its competitiveness. One such component is the P120C booster. It will equip both the Vega-C and Ariane 6 launch vehicles. By using the motor on multiple launch vehicles, production rates will increase, and European industry will benefit from economies of scale, lowering cost on a per-unit basis.

Source:  ESA
Associated URL: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Transportation/Hot_firing_proves_solid_r
Source Date: July 16, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 07/16/2018

 
 
U.K. ANNOUNCES FIRST VERTICAL LAUNCH CENTER
Monday, July 16, 2018
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Artit's concept of rocket blasting off from Sutherland

Source: PR Newswire / Lockheed Martin


Artit's concept of rocket blasting off from Sutherland

Source: PR Newswire / Lockheed Martin


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SUTHERLAND, Scotland - The U.K. Space agency has selected the first vertical launch site in Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland. After a period of study, the agency determined that Scotland is the best place in the U.K. to reach in-demand satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets. These likely include polar and sun-synchronous orbits. Initial funding of GBP2.5 million ($3.31 million) will go to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop the vertical launch site in Sutherland.

The U.K. Space Agency has also made available GBP2 million ($2.65 million) to boost horizontal spaceport development across Britain. Funding will support sites such as Newquay, Glasgow Prestwick, and Snowdonia and will be used to support sub-orbital flight, satellite launch, and spaceplane programs.

At the same time as the announcement of a site, the U.K. Space Agency announces a partnership with two launch companies. The first was with Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin provided few details about this specific projects, but some in the industry believe Lockheed Martin will use Rocket Lab Electron lightweight launch vehicles to carry payloads from the launch center. Lockheed Martin made a strategic investment in Rocket Lab in 2015.

The second company will be Orbex, which will launch its Prime lightweight launch vehicle from the launch center in Sutherland. Orbex raised GBP30 million ($39.6 million) from the U.K. Space Agency and other investment firms to continue development of its launch vehicle, which it says will carry payloads to orbits up to 1,250 kilometers in altitude.

Signing deals with space launch companies gives the U.K. Space Agency anchor customers as it begins the process of developing the Sutherland site.

Source:  U.K. Government
Associated URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/one-giant-leap-vertical-launch-spaceport-to-bring-uk-into-new-space-age
Source Date: July 16, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 07/16/2018

 
 
ESA WORKS WITH EIB TO ENHANCE SPACE COMPETITIVENESS
Friday, July 13, 2018
Click image for a larger picture

Artist's rendition of a European SmallSat

Source: ICEYE


Artist's rendition of a European SmallSat

Source: ICEYE


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PARIS - ESA Director General Jan W├Ârner and Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Ambroise Fayolle signed a joint statement on July 13 about working together to enhance the competitiveness of the European space sector. In order to do this, the two organizations will support investments in actors of the sector with promising short- or medium-term perspectives.

The joint statement puts forth the intention of the two organizations to cooperate on devising joint support mechanisms in order to help create a level-playing field for European companies to grow and compete globally.

The space industry has seen a major influx of innovation in recent years. However, much of it has been in the U.S., driven by the deep pockets of Silicon Valley. As other parts of the world work to drive innovation, they must grapple with the amount of funding available to startups. By signing an agreement with the EIB, ESA is making strides in working toward development of the space sector in Europe.

Furthermore, much of the growing innovation is coming from the commercial sector of the market, rather than institutional government agencies. In fact, ESA and EIB recognize this factor as one of the driving forces behind their decision to work together to promote space.

According to the joint issued by the organizations, they will be bringing together their complementary expertise and experience, formalizingt their shared goal of and intention to promote investments in space by developing various axes of cooperation, such as:

-Raising awareness among investors of the potential of space as a driver for innovation and growth;

-Supporting actors in the space sector that have promising short- or medium-term growth perspectives;

-Improving the access to finance for promoters of space projects, including via the study of suitable joint instruments.

Source:  ESA
Associated URL: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Welcome_to_ESA/Enhancing_competitiveness_of_European
Source Date: July 13, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 07/13/2018

 

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