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Welcome to Edition 2.01 of the Rocket Report! This week marks one year since the first report. What started as an experiment has grown into something that a lot of people read. So thank you for joining. And if you appreciate this weekly report and the effort that goes into it, I encourage you to subscribe to Ars Technica. It doesn't cost much, and there are perks. But mostly you'll know you're supporting independent journalism like this. Thank you for considering it.
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.
Virgin performs full-duration hotfire test. On Tuesday, Virgin Orbit announced that it had performed the "final full-duration, full-scale, full-thrust—hell, full everything—test firing" of its LauncherOne rocket's first stage. The firing lasted for more than 180 seconds and was entirely successful, the company reported. Virgin said the rocket, which will be launched from beneath the wing of an airplane, was within an "arm's reach" of its first orbital flight test.
Time to fly ... With the full-duration hotfire test completed, Virgin officials said they have now tested every single aspect of the LauncherOne rocket, from hardware through software, on ground-based stands. All that remains between now and the orbital test flight is final assembly of the first rocket and a few additional test flights of Virgin's modified 747, Cosmic Girl. We'll hope for a launch some time this summer.
College rocket reaches space. Probably. In April, a team of students from the University of Southern California launched its "Traveler IV" rocket from Spaceport America. The vehicle reached a maximum velocity of Mach 5.1, and the students estimated its altitude exceeded the Karman line of 100km. But they're not 100 percent sure.
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