It looks like the emerging European small launch industry is solidifying, with one anchor launcher client per spaceport:- Isar Aerospace & RFA -> Andoya (Norway)- Esrange (= Suborbital like Spaceport America)
Most likely (hopefully) Nammo Northstar/Envol is more successful. Will likely launch from Andoya & Esrange.
Is Nammo even still working on Northstar? Obviously, more appropriate to ask in the dedicated thread (and I'd be happy if the mods move this side-conversation there), but last I checked they'd wiped all mention of the Northstar program from their website (this page about their hybrid propulsion projects has been 404'ed for a while, for example).
Great news as the UK prepares for launches from Scottish soil:Launch service provider RFA UK (Rocket Factory Ltd) has received £3.5 million from the UK Space Agency. The funding was awarded as part of the European Space Agency (ESA), Boost! Programme.RFA UK will use the funding to develop and operate the infrastructure and test equipment needed to enable them to launch the RFA ONE launch system.The first launch from SaxaVord Spaceport is planned for Q2 2024.RFA AG will have exclusive access to the SaxaVord’s ‘Fredo’ launch pad from where it plans to provide a regular cadence of launch services as one of the spaceport’s anchor customers.Measuring 30 meters tall and 2 meters wide, the RFA ONE launch vehicle is a three-stage launch vehicle capable of deploying up to 1,300 kg to a 500 km polar orbit. The rocket uses efficient and environmentally friendly Helix staged-combustion engines, stainless steel tanks and standardized components from other industries to offer flexible, low-cost and precise transportation into orbit with its Redshift OTV.
ESA further boosts @rfa_space across Europe. 🚀RFA One is an orbital vehicle that will have three stages and be launched from @SaxaVord_Space in the UK. 30 m tall and 2 m in diameter, RFA One targets a deployment capability of up to 1300 kg to a 500 km polar orbit.
I think ISAR, RFA and Orbex will reach operational status in the coming three years.
I expect US launch service providers to annoy European ones, by stealing launch slots from EU launch sites. While the US only purpose is to eliminate competition.
My expectation is that only two to four European orbital launch companies can service longterm besides ArianeGroup and Avio. Launch demand isn't high enough.
So far there are only two rocket builders that have commited to SaxaVord and seem to be on a good way to build a working orbital rocket before running out of money.
These are exactly the two whose first SaxaVord launch is sponsored by the UK Space Agency: RFA and ABL.
Regarding the question which European small launchers will survive on the long run, my bet is on RFA One and on ArianeGroup's reusable Maia rocket, which will be made in France and likely launch from Kourou. So there should be no congestion at SaxaVord's planned three launch pads.
A United Kingdom House of Commons report published this month criticized the government’s approval of new spaceports and satellite launches as being excessively slow and bureaucratic, and it urged rapid action to streamline regulations to secure the nation’s status in the booming launch industry.
A United Kingdom House of Commons report published this month criticized the government’s approval of new spaceports and satellite launches as being excessively slow and bureaucratic, and it urged rapid action to streamline regulations to secure the nation’s status in the booming launch industry.https://parabolicarc.com/2023/08/01/house-report-urges-rapid-improvements-uk-spaceport-launch-licensing/
Is there any commercial launch sites that make a profit? Most sites are government run and whiling charging launch services fee, doubt its are enough to cover site operating costs.
.....Although speaking of Rocket Lab, I guess Wallops is somewhat commercial, right? I can't recall the specifics there......
Quote from: trimeta on 11/12/2023 05:44 pm.....Although speaking of Rocket Lab, I guess Wallops is somewhat commercial, right? I can't recall the specifics there......IIRC the state of Virginia more or less runs the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
Alan Thompson of Skyrora says at Space Tech Expo Europe that they hope to get a UK CAA license by the spring of 2024 for a second suborbital test flight, this time from SaxaVord. (The first launch last year from Iceland was… less than successful.)
https://hyimpulse.de/Press_Release/PRESS%20RELEASE%20_%20HYIMPULSE%20_NOV2023_SL.pdfQuoteSuborbital Rocket Launch Site and Launch Window confirmedTuesday, 14th of November 2023At Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp and HyImpulseTechnologies co-CEO Christian Schmierer confirmed the launch window of the SR75.This signals the greenlight for the German-based company HyImpulse to launch theirsuborbital rocket SR75 from Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in March 2024.The transportation of the launch hardware will commence shortly and preparations forthe launch campaign are ramping up in the final phase.
Suborbital Rocket Launch Site and Launch Window confirmedTuesday, 14th of November 2023At Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp and HyImpulseTechnologies co-CEO Christian Schmierer confirmed the launch window of the SR75.This signals the greenlight for the German-based company HyImpulse to launch theirsuborbital rocket SR75 from Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in March 2024.The transportation of the launch hardware will commence shortly and preparations forthe launch campaign are ramping up in the final phase.
HyImpulse Technologies plans to begin engine testing and launching sub-orbital sounding rockets in Shetland this year with a view to a maiden orbital flight in 2023.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1724438977749372965Quote from: Jeff FoustAlan Thompson of Skyrora says at Space Tech Expo Europe that they hope to get a UK CAA license by the spring of 2024 for a second suborbital test flight, this time from SaxaVord. (The first launch last year from Iceland was… less than successful.)The stakes in SaxaVord are too high for a failure, too many parties need or want it. Including the UK Space Agency, right? This will work out in some way.
Goes to show there is no future in small LV's since they can't compete in price per unit mass to orbit with larger LV's and F9 rideshare taking away most of the smallsat launch market. Once SS achieves IOC then it is game over for small LV's.SaxaVord Spaceport with either get abandoned or be upgraded to take at least MLV's.
Why did England spend money and resources on 3 launch sites when they should concentrate on one launch site at a time?
Also:Shetland is first UK spaceport for vertical rocket launcheshttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-67741864Spaceport Licence attached.
We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded our spaceport licence by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Read on 👇for all the details.
SaxaVord granted spaceport licence by Civil Aviation AuthorityDecember 17, 2023General, NewsA significant historic milestone has been achieved by SaxaVord Spaceport with the award of a licence by the Civil Aviation Authority.It becomes the first licensed vertical launch spaceport in the UK and Western Europe following extensive assessment by the space regulator to check that appropriate safety, security and environmental criteria are met, and that SaxaVord has suitable infrastructure, equipment and services to accommodate vertical space launches.CEO Frank Strang said: “The award of our spaceport licence is both historic for Shetland, Scotland and the UK and places us firmly at the leading edge of the European and global space economy. “As importantly for me it is also a fantastic achievement by our Operations and Licencing Team led by Scott Hammond who have been working tirelessly alongside the CAA for almost three years to secure this award. “Our team is very proud that the Government has entrusted us with operating a complex, multi-disciplinary and multi-launch spaceport and we all take this responsibility very seriously. “There is much to do still but this is a fantastic way to end the year and head into Christmas.”SaxaVord has a roster of clients including Rocket Factory Augsburg, HyImpulse, Lockheed Martin/ABL Systems and Skyrora.The spaceport licence puts Scotland at the forefront of the European launch market, with Scottish satellites already in space, and home-grown rocket companies breaking new ground.There are a number of launch operators from around the world currently developing rockets to launch from SaxaVord who are currently at various stages of the assessment process with the Civil Aviation Authority.The not-too-distant future could see Scottish built rockets launching Scottish satellites from a Scottish spaceport. The licence permits SaxaVord to host up to 30 launches a year, allowing the spaceport to grow as the UK space sector continues to expand.Tim Johnson, Director of Space Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Granting SaxaVord their licence is an era defining moment for the UK space sector.“This marks the beginning of a new chapter for UK space as rockets may soon launch satellites into orbit from Scotland.“We are undertaking vital work to make sure the UK’s space activities are safe and sustainable for all.”Now that it is licensed SaxaVord will be subject to an ongoing monitoring programme by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to ensure safety is maintained and the terms of its licence are not breached. This latest licence is the 352nd space activity approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority since becoming the UK’s space regulator in July 2021. The regulator now monitors more than 750 different satellites, has licensed two spaceports, a launch from Cornwall, and the OneWeb constellation which is the second biggest satellite constellation in orbit. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The United Kingdom’s space industry is growing, with SaxaVord set for lift off to become this country’s first vertical spaceport.“Today’s historic announcement will boost Shetland’s economy and put the United Kingdom at the forefront of spaceflight innovation.”This activity is supporting an ever-growing space industry estimated to be worth £17.5 billion and support 48,800 jobs, with over 2200 space companies based in the UK. The UK space sector is a rapidly expanding and vital part of the UK economy.The licence also follows last week’s announcement of £3.4 million UK Space Agency funding for HyImpulse UK, a Shetland based launch company to undertake their Hybrid Propulsion Test Programme ahead of the proposed launch of their launch vehicle, named SL1, from SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst.Matt Archer, Director of Launch, UK Space Agency said: “The granting of SaxaVord’s spaceport licence by the UK Civil Aviation Authority is a hugely exciting milestone as we look forward to the first vertical launches from UK soil in the coming year. “Getting to this stage is testament to the hard work by SaxaVord Spaceport and partners across government which moves us towards realising our ambitions for the UK to be the leading provider of small satellite launch in Europe by 2030.“Establishing orbital launch capabilities in the UK is already bringing new jobs and investment opportunities to local communities as well as inspiring the next generation to join our growing space sector.” Scottish Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead MSP said: “This milestone heralds a new era for space in Scotland. As the UK’s first licensed vertical spaceport, SaxaVord and Scotland can soon be a gateway to space, deploying cutting edge small satellites into orbit for international and domestic customers alike. “Space continues to be a great opportunity for Scotland; including for our economic development, the key role it plays in helping us fight the climate crisis and the power it has to inspire discovery and innovation in the next generation. “The Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a multi-billion pound industry and Europe’s leading space nation has taken a significant step towards becoming a reality. We will continue to build on our strengths that include an innovative and diverse engineering base and world-class companies competing in international markets.”SaxaVord is also establishing the Space Environment Climate Control Centre to drive a responsible attitude to climate and the environment. Known as SaxaZero, it will monitor the spaceport’s impact on the natural environment as well as push for innovation in space industry sustainability. SaxaZero will also promote the use of satellite data in conservation and by companies seeking to understand their impact on nature and lower costs and emissions.
The BBC article contains this part:"Full orbital launches are expected to take place at SaxaVord from 2025."
Hope they allow viewing from public maybe, cant ever get to the USA, so maybe just maybe can drive to Shetlands..
Quote from: starbase on 12/17/2023 02:00 pmThe BBC article contains this part:"Full orbital launches are expected to take place at SaxaVord from 2025."What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch? RFA's aspirational plan is two sponsored demo launches from SaxaVord in 2024, then paying customers' payloads from 2025. So I assume the latter are those "full" launches?
"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"The word suborbital springs to mind. Full orbital isn't suborbital.
Quote from: Euromir on 12/17/2023 07:47 pmHope they allow viewing from public maybe, cant ever get to the USA, so maybe just maybe can drive to Shetlands..That is essentially correct; you can drive to the Shetland Islands. Northlink Ferries has overnight service to get you from Aberdeen Scotland to Shetland Island, 7 nights a week. From Shetland Island, the Toft-Ulsta Ferry and the Gutcher-Belmont Ferry can move your car short distances to the northern tip of the Shetland Islands where you will find Saxavord. Bon Voyage! You have great plans for a vacation there.
Quote from: Phil Stooke on 12/18/2023 10:28 pm"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"The word suborbital springs to mind. Full orbital isn't suborbital.Then BBC just said that neither RFA nor ABL will launch from SaxaVord in 2024. Because those will definitely be orbital launch attempts. Very unusual that a news outlet trashes launch schedules this way, without any hint that and why they are doing so.[…]
Quote from: Phil Stooke on 12/18/2023 10:28 pm"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"The word suborbital springs to mind. Full orbital isn't suborbital.Then BBC just said that neither RFA nor ABL will launch from SaxaVord in 2024. Because those will definitely be orbital launch attempts. Very unusual that a news outlet trashes launch schedules this way, without any hint that and why they are doing so.Possible explanations:- BBC actually has a well informed source which told them that there will be no orbital launches from SaxaVord in 2024, but was not aware what this means (that it is important news, as it means that RFA and everybody else are publishing nonsense schedules).- They actually meant "commercial orbital launches".- They thought that the RFA demo launches announced for 2024 are not "full" in some way because they are "demo".- Somone confused 2024 with 2025.- Someone did a pessimistic estimate because he doesn't like the idea that the first successful orbital launch from British soil could be a German rocket.I think it is both the second and third one. News author did not have full understanding of launch business and orbital mechanics, which resulted in some nonfull news gibberish. (Though the assumption of a first orbital launch from SaxaVord in 2025 is reasonable because of aspirational schedules. But this conclusion needs lots of understanding of rocket business, and some explanation instead of just dropping a date.)
It's hard to see how the Saxavord business plan makes any sense. Would you invest?
Quote from: ringsider on 12/22/2023 02:33 pmIt's hard to see how the Saxavord business plan makes any sense. Would you invest?I would not have invested into OneWeb - but it did survive, because it was strategically too important to fail. Now let's see what will happen to the most promising spaceport project in the UK ...
(With the alternative of Astraius launching via Cornwall to make the UK a spacefaring nation.)
Quote from: PM3 on 12/22/2023 08:38 pm(With the alternative of Astraius launching via Cornwall to make the UK a spacefaring nation.)Astraius is actually planning on launching from Prestwick Spaceport near Glasgow, not from Spaceport Cornwall. As European Spaceflight wrote in late 2022, "Spaceport Cornwall is more or less going to be exclusively used by Virgin Orbit with no other operator currently having committed to launching from the facility." Which didn't exactly work out for Spaceport Cornwall given Virgin Orbit's fate.