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Max Q: Abnormal • TechCrunch

Hello and welcome back to Max Q! Last week was not the most successful for spaceflight missions. We’ll go into that a bit more below.

In this issue:

  • First, a failed launch of Virgin Orbit…
  • …followed by one from ABL Space Systems
  • News from Rocket Lab, World View and more

After Virgin Orbit’s launch failure last Monday, with the mission experiencing an “anomaly” that prevented the rocket from reaching orbit, I went back to the company’s financials — and it’s not looking good. from.

For Virgin Orbit, this year has probably been completely turned upside down. The company was aiming for three launches this year, but everything remains grounded until the cause of the anomaly is identified and resolved. It’s unclear how long that will take, but probably at least three months. Add this slowdown to Virgin’s dwindling cash reserves and you’ve got a base that’s suddenly much shakier than before.

cosmic girl in virgin orbit and the launcherone rocket

Image Credits: Virgin Orbit/Greg Robinson

Launch startup ABL Space Systems’ The first orbital launch attempt ended in failure last Tuesday after all nine engines on the RS1 rocket’s first stage shut down simultaneously. The missile then hit the launch pad and was destroyed on impact.

ABL president Dan Piemont told TechCrunch that while the investigation into the outage is still in its infancy, “the simultaneity of the closure is strong evidence, but it will take more time for the team to narrow down contributing factors and a cause.” .”

“Flight 2’s vehicle is fully assembled and ready to begin its flight campaign, so we can’t wait to get started on that once the Flight 1 investigation is complete,” Piemont said.

ABL Space RS1 rocket shortly after launch

Image Credits: ABL Space RS1 rocket

More news from TC and beyond

  • Capella room added $60 million in growth capital funding to its Series C through investor Thomas Tull’s US Innovation Technology Fund. (capella)
  • Elon Musk said SpaceX has a “real chance” of conducting Starship’s first orbital flight test next month. (Twitter)
  • Europe’s first mainland spaceport, in Sweden, was inaugurated by Swedish dignitaries and other officials. (High North)
  • from ispace The HAKUTO-R lander has completed its second orbital control maneuver and has been in deep space for more than a month now. (ispace)
  • of Israel The Air Force will set up its own “space administration” similar to the US Space Force. (i24)
  • Planet Labs completed acquisition of Salo Sciences, a climate technology company. (Planet)
  • Rocket factory Augsburg and UK-based SaxaVord Spaceport have signed a multi-year launch agreement, with RFA conducting the first launch from that site as early as the end of this year. (RFA)
  • Rocket Lab now targets Jan. 23 for its inaugural Electron launch from Virginia. The launch will carry three satellites for HawkEye 360. (Rocket Lab)
  • Russia will send an unmanned Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station to return three astronauts to Earth, after a coolant leak was discovered in the Soyuz currently attached to the ISS. (The New York Times)
  • Catapult Space Travel has appointed Thomas Arend, who until recently was VP and head of product management at Astra, as the new chief product officer. (Catapult)
  • The Federal Communication Commission voted to create a brand new space agency that will handle all matters related to satellite communications and more. (TechCrunch)
  • The research laboratory of the United States Air Force and SpaceWERX are supporting a Space Regulatory Bootcamp for founders and regulatory professionals seeking guidance in navigating the complex world of space regulation. The Bootcamp will take place in February. (ACSP)
  • United Launch Alliances The Vulcan Centaur rocket begins to make its way to the launch pad ahead of its first test flight. (ULA)
  • Worldview, a startup using stratospheric balloons for Earth observation (and soon… tourism?!) is going public via SPAC merger. (TechCrunch)

Max Q is brought to you by me, Aria Alamalhodaei. If you enjoy reading Max Q, please consider forwarding it to a friend.

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