May 26, 2022

Hello and welcome to Max Q. Before we get into this week’s news, a quick note: I’ll be experimenting with the newsletter over the next few weeks, trying out new sections and features, and I want to hear from you: Do you prefer to read? What else do you want? What tears do you shed? send me an email with your feedback [email protected]you can also find me on twitter @ bread outI

In this release:

  • Elon Musk spoke about Starship
  • OneWeb says goodbye to the Union
  • Another moon landing system
  • … plus a new section – read on.

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NASA gave another company the chance to send a lander to the moon. Nearly a year after the agency announced that SpaceX was beating competitors (including Blue Origin and Boeing) for the opportunity, the agency said it would open competition for a second lunar lander under a new contract called “Sustainable Lunar Development.”

NASA faced criticism from both the private sector and Congress when it selected SpaceX as the sole contractor for the Human Landing System (HLS) contract, the first lunar lander contract. Blue Origin even filed a lawsuit against NASA in federal court. But this time, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the agency is in the business of promoting competition.

“We believe, and Congress believes, that competition produces better, more reliable results and benefits everyone,” he said. “It benefits NASA, [it] Benefit the American people. The benefits of competition are clear.”

HLS program manager Lisa Watson-Morgan told reporters that the agency will publish a draft request for proposals at the end of the month. The final application for proposals will come later in the spring and will be open to all US companies except SpaceX.

Artist's rendering of a SpaceX spacecraft and lunar lander.

Artist’s rendering of a SpaceX spacecraft and lunar lander. image credit: SpaceX

Recent filings with the FCC suggest that Firefly Aerospace could go public through a merger with the blanche company.

Small startup just closed $75 million funding round Led by AE Industrial Partners. The company acquired a stake in the start-up company Noosphere Ventures, the fund of Ukrainian entrepreneur Max Polyakov. Noosphere sold its stake in Firefly after being reviewed by the US Committee on Foreign Investment.

A new FCC filing regarding the proposed launch of a second Firefly Alpha rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this spring says the acquisition included “the majority of Firefly Aerospace’s equity capital” and “special purpose vehicles.” Works for AE. ,

firefly space engine test

image credit: Firefly

Inflation is not visible only at the fuel pump. SpaceX is raising prices on everything from Starlink’s satellite broadband service to its launch.

Regarding the price increase for Starlink, SpaceX cited inflation as the sole reason for the new pricing structure: “The sole purpose of these adjustments is to keep pace with rising inflation,” the company wrote in an email to existing customers. The company also offered a partial refund of $200 for equipment return cancellations if the customer has been served for less than one year, or a full refund for less than 30 days.

Dedicated launches of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets are also rising in price, from $62 million and $90 million to $67 million and $97 million, respectively. The cost of a ride launched on a Falcon 9 has also risen from a base rate of $1 million to $1.1 million for a load of up to 200kg.

image credit: starlink

This week with… Casey Handmer

Casey Handmer

image credit: Casey Handmer

Casey Handmer was born and raised in Australia, where she received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics. He emigrated to the US in 2010 and received his PhD in theoretical physics, after which he worked at Hyperloop One and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 2021, he founded Terraform Industries to capture atmospheric carbon and turn it into inexpensive gigaton-scale natural gas.

gaming-updates: What are you working on?

Casey Handmer: Professionally, a founder’s life is never the same. Lots of rent and space work, with breaks for chemistry and math. When I am not working, I am raising my two wonderful children and training to join the local search and rescue team.

What happened on the news last week that you can’t even imagine?

NASA has announced the 5,000th confirmed exoplanet. By the way, my wife, Dr. Christine Moran, is the Deputy Director of the NASA Exoplanet Program! The James Webb Space Telescope will likely be able to obtain atmospheric spectral data from some of them. Some of these planets may be very similar to Earth! How smart will we be to study them better in the future?

What are you watching next week?

So many things! An old friend is coming to town, I’m talking to people from ARPA-E, and I’m thinking that I might even have to go to the nearest power plant!

What song is on repeat?

I alternate the Dune soundtrack with an exceptionally late Romantic French improvisation on the organ.

More news from TC and more

  • blue original announced that it has selected a new passenger to take the place of Pete Davidson in suborbital space on New Shepard’s next mission: Gary Lai, chief rocket architect and one of the company’s original 20 employees.
  • Elon Musk The first orbital flight of the super-heavy reusable Starship rocket could take place from the giant SpaceX launch pad in Texas. as fast as you canThe company is still awaiting a final FAA environmental assessment, a legal requirement before any launch.
  • NASA ordered 12 more missions under its Commercial Supply Services-2 contract – six for SpaceX and six for Northrop Grumman. Both companies will provide ISS supply services until 2026.
  • One Web It signed a launch services deal with SpaceX after announcing earlier this month that it would no longer use Russia’s aging Soyuz rocket system. OneWeb has successfully used Soyuz to launch all of its 428 broadband satellites currently in orbit, but the company decided to look for another launch service provider as it refused to join Russia’s list of demands. His satellites will not be used. for military purposes.
  • SpaceX terminated its long-standing business partnership with launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. SpaceX reportedly notified Spaceflight of the decision via text message minutes before it was emailed to rideshare customers. Yak.
  • United Starter Alliance CEO Tory Bruno intends to make the first flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket by the end of this year during a panel at the Satellite 2022 conference. The heavy-lift rocket has been in development since 2014. (H/T to Very room Journalists covering the conference live.)
  • A big bear has completed qualification of its £5,000 Hadley rocket engine and has begun deliveries of engines to two customers, according to ArsTechnica. In December, I covered the company’s Series C and spoke with founder Joe Lorenti about the company’s ambitions.
United launches Alliance Vulcan Centauri

Artistic depiction of a Vulcan. image credit: United Starter Alliance (Opens in a new window)

weekly hearing

Found is a show about founders and building a business with people who actually get the job done. News editor every week Darrell Etherington and chief editor Jordan Crook Talk to an aspiring founder early on about how they decided to get started, how they handle everything from creating a product roadmap to raising funds from some of the world’s best investors, and how they fall short. This week he spoke with Laura Crabtree, co-founder and CEO of Epsilon 3. Check it out below.

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