Rocket Report: Small-launch reckoning, Starliner slip, a lunar Falcon Heavy?

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2019-04-05

Cartoon rocket superimposed over real rocket launch.

Enlarge / The mighty Delta IV Heavy rocket takes to the skies. (credit: Aurich Lawson/United Launch Alliance)

Welcome to Edition 1.43 of the Rocket Report! Lots of news this week, including new efforts in Japan and New Jersey, of all places, to develop spaceports. Also, NASA's plans to land humans on the Moon by the end of 2024 continues to reverberate through the heavy-launch industry.

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.

Small-launch reckoning looms. In an extended interview, Rocket Lab chief Peter Beck talks about what he's learned running through the gamut of starting a company, developing a rocket, and then moving from development into operations. "If I look back, getting to orbit was kind of hard, but actually once you get to orbit the work's not really done," he says. "Until you reach orbit, you're really only thinking about yourself. The whole world revolves around your test flight. But when you start flying customers, it's a whole different world."

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