Virgin Orbit Names Investigation Team, Next Try from U.K. Possible This Year

Virgin Orbit Names Investigation Team, Next Try from U.K. Possible This Year

Virgin Orbit announced formation of an investigation team today to discover why the second stage of its LauncherOne rocket failed Monday night, dooming nine satellites. After corrective actions are made, the next launch will be from its usual launch site in California, but the company plans to return to Spaceport Cornwall perhaps as soon as the end of this year. Also today, its sister company, Virgin Galactic, gave an update on when it expects commercial flights to begin.

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Russia to Launch Replacement Soyuz, Bring Soyuz MS-22 Back Uncrewed

Russia to Launch Replacement Soyuz, Bring Soyuz MS-22 Back Uncrewed

Russia’s space agency announced today that it will send up an empty Soyuz spacecraft to replace Soyuz MS-22 and bring home two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut later this year. They were supposed to come back on Soyuz MS-22 in March, but a coolant leak caused by a micrometeoroid strike left the spacecraft unsafe for human occupancy. Soyuz-23 will arrive in February. The crew will extend their stay on ISS, but for exactly how long is to be determined.

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New HSS&T Chairman Optimistic, Enthusiastic About NASA

New HSS&T Chairman Optimistic, Enthusiastic About NASA

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) expressed optimism and enthusiasm about NASA’s future today as he takes the gavel as chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. A 20-year veteran of the committee, Lucas acknowledged the House’s new Republican majority is focused on cutting government spending, making it imperative to justify the resources that will be needed to keep the United States ahead of foreign competitors in space.

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No-Go for Virgin Orbit’s First U.K. Launch

No-Go for Virgin Orbit’s First U.K. Launch

The first orbital launch from the United Kingdom didn’t go as planned Monday evening. After initially tweeting that the satellites attained orbit, Virgin Orbit had to backtrack and concede “an anomaly prevented us from reaching orbit.” The company later amended that to say they did not reach the “final orbit” suggesting some type of orbit was achieved, but it is not clear that was the case.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy January 8-14, 2023

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 8-14, 2023

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of January 8-14, 2023 and any insight we can offer about them. The House is in session this week. The Senate is in recess until January 23 except for pro forma sessions.

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House Finally Ready for 118th Congress, Government Spending Cuts Top Priority

House Finally Ready for 118th Congress, Government Spending Cuts Top Priority

In the early hours this morning, the House finally elected Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker, allowing the chamber to get down to business. Until now, members could not be sworn in and the House could not adopt rules to organize for the 118th Congress. The change from Democratic to Republican control marks a return to divided government, with Democrats retaining the Senate and White House. Cutting non-defense government spending is a top priority for the House Republican majority, which could have a significant impact on NASA’s aspirations, as would gridlock.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy January 1-14, 2023

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 1-14, 2023

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next two weeks, January 1-14, 2023, and any insight we can offer about them. The House will be in session most of that time. The Senate plans to be in session only on January 3 to swear in Senators and adopt housekeeping resolutions, with the expectation they will reach agreement that January 23 will be the first day for bill introductions.

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NASA Assessing Crew Dragon’s Ability to Accommodate All Seven ISS Crew

NASA Assessing Crew Dragon’s Ability to Accommodate All Seven ISS Crew

As NASA and Roscosmos determine what to do about the Soyuz MS-22 situation, one potential option is using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance to bring all seven ISS crew members home. Crew Dragon actually is designed for seven people, but NASA needs only four seats so that is the number in Endurance right now. NASA is asking SpaceX what it would take to accommodate the three who arrived on Soyuz MS-22 as well.

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FY2023 Funding Signed, Sealed and Delivered

FY2023 Funding Signed, Sealed and Delivered

President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act into law today, finalizing funding for FY2023. The $1.7 trillion legislation funds the departments and agencies that execute space programs — NASA, NOAA, DOD, and the FAA — plus all the others in the discretionary part of the U.S. budget through September 30, 2023.

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Soyuz MS-22 Decision Delayed to January

Soyuz MS-22 Decision Delayed to January

A decision on whether Soyuz MS-22 is safe enough to transport crews or must be replaced by a new vehicle will wait until January according to Russia’s space agency. Earlier, Roscosmos head Yuri Borisov said a decision would be made by today.

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