Welcome to issue 4.27 of the Rocket Report! And after two weeks the Rocket Report is back. I’d love to say that I’m tanned, rested, and ready, but hey, one in three isn’t bad. Anyway, there’s a lot of news to report after the vacation break, so let’s get into that right away.
As always we welcome readers’ contributions, and if you don’t want to miss any issue, please subscribe to the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the website). Each report includes information on small, medium and heavy missiles as well as a brief preview of the next three launches on the calendar.
Ukrainian investor requests the sale of Firefly. The US government has asked Max Polyakov, a wealthy Ukrainian tech entrepreneur, to sell his stake in the rocket company Firefly Aerospace Inc. Bloomberg reports. The military cited national security concerns in the motion. Polyakov backed Firefly with $ 200 million in 2017 after the company filed for bankruptcy and is credited with turning the company over. Polyakov resigned from the company’s board of directors a year ago
Alpha on hold … However, government and aerospace industry officials have continued to raise objections to Polyakov’s control of the company, fearing that valuable technology could end up in Ukraine, Russia, or other nations attempting to develop missile programs . Polyakov has agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in the company in favor of Firefly. Meanwhile, work on the company’s second launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California appears to have been put on hold. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Design flaws in Korean missile failure cited. The failed October debut of South Korea’s first domestically built missile, the KSLV-2, is attributed to improperly anchored helium tanks in the upper stage of the three-stage missile. SpaceNews reports. The kerosene and liquid oxygen powered rocket released its dummy payload into unsustainable orbit when its upper stage engine shut down 46 seconds earlier. A flaw investigation led by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute found that improperly designed structures could detach helium tanks in the upper stage during flight, resulting in a leak that drew liquid oxygen from the missile’s engine.
Fixing the anchors … The helium tanks with the defective anchors were in the oxidation tank of the upper stage, which was filled with liquid oxygen for igniting the rocket. When the helium tanks came loose, they cut the piping in the oxidizer tank and caused the liquid oxygen to escape, causing the ignition to stop prematurely. The problem is solved by fastening the helium tanker in the KSLV-2. A second test flight of the KSLV rocket should take place this year. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
The FAA approved the Georgia spaceport, however. The long-running saga of whether advocates for a spaceport off the coast of Georgia seemed to come to an end in December when the Federal Aviation Administration granted Spaceport Camden a site operator license on December 20. But then the project ran into another catch on a land dispute.
Will there be a vote? The current reports that Superior Court Justice Stephen Scarlett issued an injunction preventing Camden County from completing the purchase of the 4,000-acre Union Carbide property, on which the county plans to build a spaceport, for the time being. Opponents applied for the injunction on their behalf and on behalf of about 4,000 other district voters who had signed a petition for a referendum on the property to be purchased. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
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