April 24, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Rocket Report: Astra warns of 'imminent' bankruptcy; Falcon Heavy launch delayed

Rocket Report: Astra warns of 'imminent' bankruptcy;  Falcon Heavy launch delayed
Zoom in / A static firing test of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Crew 8 mission in early March.


Welcome to Rocket Report version 6.33! If you check the “Next Three Launches” list below, you'll see that all three are for Falcon 9 rockets. This isn't the first time this has happened this year, and it will likely be the last. It appears that SpaceX may actually be approaching its goal of 150 launches this year, which is a remarkable pace.

As always, we are Reader submissions are welcomeIf 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 missiles, as well as a quick look at the next three launches on the calendar.

India is building a second spaceport. The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, has got the green light to build a new spaceport in Tamil Nadu, through which it aims to help private players launch small rockets. TechCrunch reports. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the spaceport, located on an island called Kulasekharapatnam off the southern state of Tamil Nadu. This will be the country's second spaceport after the space agency's existing Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

An easier path to the poles …The spaceport will be dedicated to launching smaller launch vehicles and will be ready in about two years. The 2,350-acre Kulasekharapatnam spaceport will help provide propellant for small rocket launches, as the port can launch rockets directly south over the Indian Ocean without having to cross landmasses. This differs from the current launch site at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, which adds more fuel requirements for a polar orbit launch as the rockets need to follow a curved path to the south to avoid the landmass of Sri Lanka. (Submitted by Joey S-IVB)

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Astra founders warn of 'imminent bankruptcy' The founders of satellite propulsion and launch vehicle company Astra have sharply reduced their bid to take the company private, warning of “imminent bankruptcy” if the company does not accept their new proposal. Space news reports. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, Astra issued a letter sent three days earlier to a special committee of the company's board of directors from Chris Kemp and Adam London, its CEO and chief technology officer, reducing their shares by two-thirds. An offer to buy the outstanding shares of a publicly traded company.

I hope I don't change it any more … In November, Kemp and London proposed buying Astra shares at $1.50, nearly double their price at the time the deal was announced. In the new proposal, they are offering only $0.50 per share. Kemp and London cited several reasons for the stock price drop. They included continued cash burn by the company since it made the original offer and high “non-operating expenses” as the company used multiple outside consultants to evaluate options. Under the revised proposal, Kemp and London said they expect to raise $45 million overall to take Astra private, of which $7.7 million would go to shareholders. (Submitted by Ken Penn)

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RFA unveils plans for SaxaVord spaceport. An environmental report published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority has provided greater insight into Rocket Factory Augsburg's proposed operations at the SaxaVord Space Airport in Scotland. European Spaceflight Reports. The report details RFA's plan to conduct up to 10 launches per year from SaxaVord, representing a third of the spaceport's total budget of 30 orbital launches per year.

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More engines please … Due to local bird populations, the RFA will not be able to conduct releases or static fire tests between mid-May and the end of June. The company will also be limited to a maximum of two launches per month. Rocket design is also changing. It is worth noting that the 21-meter-long first stage will now be equipped with 13 Helix engines producing a thrust of 1,300 kN instead of only nine engines, as the company previously reported. (Submitted by Ken Penn)