Rocket Report: Billionaire backs Scottish spaceport, Relativity bags a bundle

Images of Electron rocket.
Enlarge / Rocket Lab’s Catch of the Day recovery vessel nears the Electron rocket’s first stage.

Welcome to Edition 3.24 of the Rocket Report! It’s December, and we could see a number of big smallsat launches this month, including from Virgin Orbit and Astra. But in the immediate future, our eyes are on South Texas, where a Starship prototype is due to make a high leap early next week.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Aevum unveils its Ravn X launch system. Until now, Aevum has largely operated in the background. But now, it’s ready to show off

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Virgin Galactic’s postponing its first human test flight out of Spaceport America due to COVID-19 restrictions in New Mexico



a screen shot of Richard Branson: If the planned crewed mission is successful, Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic's founder, will himself step on board SpaceShipTwo — a winged vehicle designed to rocket up to six passengers for more than $200,000 a ticket. Reuters


© Reuters
If the planned crewed mission is successful, Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic’s founder, will himself step on board SpaceShipTwo — a winged vehicle designed to rocket up to six passengers for more than $200,000 a ticket. Reuters

  • Virgin Galactic said Monday it’s delaying a pivotal crewed launch planned for mid-November due to COVID-19 restrictions in New Mexico.
  • “[W]e take this pause in stride and will be prepared to resume our pre-flight procedures and announce a new test flight window as soon as we can,” CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement Monday.
  • The postponed November mission is scheduled to be the first human test flight from the company’s base Spaceport America in New Mexico.
  • New Mexico announced statewide coronavirus restrictions Friday as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. State health officials have recorded 64,201 cases in total.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Virgin Galactic announced Monday that

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Virgin Galactic aims to fly its first human mission from Spaceport America in November, and NASA’s sending some science experiments along for the ride



a large airplane flying high up in the air: SpaceShipTwo, or VSS Unity, launches toward the edge of space on December 13, 2018. Virgin Galactic; MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios


© Virgin Galactic; MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios
SpaceShipTwo, or VSS Unity, launches toward the edge of space on December 13, 2018. Virgin Galactic; MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios

  • Virgin Galactic plans to run its first human test flight from Spaceport America between November 19 and 23, according to a company press release. 
  • Assuming the flight is successful, Virgin will be one step closer to flying its billionaire founder, Richard Branson, past the edge of space.
  • Following Branson’s successful flight, the company says it will resume selling tickets aboard its luxe VSS Unity spaceship. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Virgin Galactic expects to launch its a human mission from Spaceport America between November 19 and 23, according to a press release issued by the company on Thursday.

The flight wouldn’t be Virgin Galactic’s first with crew: The company has twice launched employees on up-and-down suborbital flights, in December 2018 and in February 2019, from

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