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Welcome to Edition 2.28 of the Rocket Report! As we get deeper into 2020, we could see as many as a half-dozen new orbital rockets debut this year, with a mixture from the United States, China, Europe, and India. It will be fun to track how many of them—big and small—actually make it to the launch pad. And how many of them are successful, of course!
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.
Vega rocket loses a launch contract. Arianespace will launch the United Arab Emirates' Falcon Eye 2 reconnaissance satellite on a Soyuz in March instead of waiting for the company's much smaller Vega rocket to return to flight, the company told SpaceNews. Vega has been grounded since a July failure that destroyed the UAE's Falcon Eye 1 satellite, resulting in a record $415 million insurance claim.
Not due to concerns about Vega? ... Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said Airbus, the satellite's manufacturer, asked to switch from Vega to Soyuz to avoid further delays getting Falcon Eye 2 into orbit. "The customer has decided to go to this backup solution, and it's definitely linked to the capability that was offered by Soyuz to be launched earlier than Vega." Airbus spokesperson Jeremy Close confirmed the switch January 10, saying the transfer to Soyuz was about schedule, not a distrust of Vega. If y'all say so.
SpinLaunch announces $35 million more in investments. The Long Beach, California-based company said Thursday it has received an additional investment for continued development of the world's first kinetic launch system, designed to provide the lowest-cost, environmentally responsible orbital launch system to serve the rapidly growing small-satellite industry.
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