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  • Astra changes strategy in the wake of launch failures
  • SpaceX launches South Korean lunar mission
  • News from Zenno Astronautics, Blue Origin and more

The company will no longer use its current lightweight vehicle, Rocket 3, but will instead use a larger rocket that is still under development.

It's a big change for the company, which has operated on the hunch that customers are willing to risk a certain number of rocket failures. A lot of people have the expectation that every launch needs to be perfect, according to Kemp. I think we have to have a lot of launches in order to get people to think about it.

There is a change in strategy that suggests a larger change in tune.

The image was created by John Kraus.

SpaceX launches South Korea’s first moon mission, an orbiter named Danuri

South Korea launched its first ever moon mission. Danuri is a play on the Korean words for moon and enjoy. If all goes well, it will attempt to land on the moon in 2030.

At 7:08 p.m., Danuri was launched from the Cape. A few minutes after liftoff, the rocket's booster landed on a ship called "Just Read the Instructions"

When Danuri arrives at the moon, it will have six science instruments and three cameras to conduct research.

spacex falcon 9 rocket launches south korea's danuri lunar orbiter

South Korea will be the first country to see the moon on August 4. The image is from the space station.

More news from TC…

  • LiveEO, a Berlin-based startup that has built a satellite analytics platform to process raw satellite data, raised €19 million ($19.5 million) amid strong demand for its product.
  • Zenno Astronautics closed a NZ$10.5 million ($6.585 million) seed round for its electromagnetic propulsive system, in advance of its first orbital test in the fourth quarter of 2023.

…and beyond

  • Blue Origin successfully launched its sixth crewed mission on the New Shepard rocket from the company’s launch facility in West Texas.
  • Firefly Aerospace made a slew of new hires to its senior leadership team in advance of the company’s second launch attempt from Vandenburg Space Force Base in California.
  • Momentus has deployed four additional customer payloads from its Vigoride-3 space tug, despite that spacecraft experiencing anomalies after its launch at the end of May.
  • NASA is confident that private space stations will be in orbit before 2030, ensuring no space station gap, officials said at the ISS Research and Development Conference.
  • NASA updated its list of requirements for private astronaut flights to the International Space Station, and is finalizing an additional requirement that all private missions must include a former flown NASA astronaut as mission commander.
  • The National Science and Technology Council released a sweeping “orbital debris implementation plan” with specific actions for agencies crafting policy to remediate, track and mitigate debris in space.
  • Rocket Lab launched another satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from the company’s site on Māhia Island, New Zealand. The mission, dubbed Antipodean Adventure, was delayed due to NRO performing software updates on the spacecraft.
  • Slingshot Aerospace, a company that uses multiple data sources to create a real-time digital landscape of space, acquired Numerica Corporation’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA) division and U.K.-based Seradata. Both acquisitions will boost Slingshot’s “space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic coordination solutions,” the company said in a press release.
  • Virgin Galactic will be building an astronaut campus and training center in New Mexico, and it ha secured land for the site near Spaceport America. The company also renewed its launch license for launches from Spaceport America and Mojave Air and Space Port for another two years. Last bit of news — the company again pushed back the start of commercial flights by one quarter, to Q2 2023.
  • United Launch Alliance launched a satellite for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command on its Atlas V rocket, the company’s 152nd mission.
  • Xona Space Systems raised around $15 million in a new funding round led by First Spark Ventures, with participation from Lockheed Martin Ventures. Xona wants to launch a constellation of navigation satellites that could be used as an alternative to GPS.

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