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February 28, 2023 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay.







  • Another version of China’s heavy lift Long March 9 unveiled
  • Having the ability to change is not in itself a bad thing, but indecisiveness can be a curse. At present it is not clear which it is for this particular Chinese rocket project. Jay’s comment: “Dr. Long [the designer] … can’t decide which plans to steal and build.”

Jay asks forgiveness for the lateness today of these quick links, as he was overwhelmed with work at his real job. I say, no apology required. Thank you Jay!

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  • sippin_bourbon

    The article does not say it, but for Rocket Lab, this is four additional launches contracted with Capella. They already have one launch scheduled, presumably to launch in March.

  • Richard M Lender

    Here’s one for the next Quick Links, perhaps: Eric Berger reports that ULA may be up for sale.

    Oh, there’s an article now, too:

    Which I think is something many of us have expected would happen at some point this decade. But I confess, I didn’t expect it quite this soon. But then again, something like later this year may be the optimum time for Boeing and Lockheed to get the best price: A successful Vulcan debut, and lots of USSF, Kuiper, and Dream Chaser launches locked up on the manifest for the next five years, but before Starship, Neutron, Terran R, and friends saturate the medium/heavy class market with cheap launchers.

  • Dick Eagleson

    I don’t think the deployment method for the new V2.0-mini Starlinks is all that different from the way V1.0 and V1.5 birds are deployed. The main difference seems to be that the stack retaining rods now remain with the second stage instead of being left in the initial deployment orbit. That orbit is fairly low and the rods don’t have especially lengthy on-orbit lifetimes, but this new arrangement allows them to re-enter with the 2nd stage more certainly and promptly. This just looks like an incremental SpaceX improvement in “debris hygiene.”

  • Edward

    The Starlink deployment video is consistent with the launch video of the fairing separation. Fairing separation was viewed from the top of the stack, too. The camera, being on the top of the stack looking back along the spacecraft body, gave us a different view of fairing separation during the launch video. Here we see that the satellite release mechanism was attached to the upper stage and, as Dick Eagleson pointed out, didn’t become orbital debris. When the restraint comes alongside the body of the upper stage, we get a view of the departing Starlink satellites.

    This version of Starlink, V2-minus, is lighter than the full version. The Falcon 9 was able to put up a few more than I had calculated based upon the full version’s weight.

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