Astra, Firefly Aerospace and Rocket Lab build rockets, while Planet Labs builds satellites. (Credits: Astra / Firefly / Rocket Lab / NASA)
Can anyone keep up with SpaceX in the commercial space race?
It might be one of the four companies profiled in
“When the Heavens Went on Sale” — a new book written by Ashlee Vance, the tech journalist who chronicled SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s feats and foibles eight years ago. Or it might be one of the dozens of other space ventures that have risen up to seek their fortune on the final frontier. Or maybe no one.
The space race’s ultimate prizes may still be up for grabs, but in Vance’s view, one thing is clear: There wouldn’t be a race if it weren’t for Musk and SpaceX.
“Elon sort of set this whole thing in motion,” Vance says in the latest episode of the
Fiction Science podcast. “My book is more or less a story of people who want to be the next Elon Musk.” Continue reading “Chasing SpaceX: The Commercial Space Race Gets a Reality Check”
Alpha FLTA002 mission successfully reached orbit but not so successfully deployed customer payloads. It lifted off on October 1, 2022 at 12:01am PST from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Credit: Firefly Aerospace.
Edited on 10/6/22 to add new information from Seradata.
Commercial space company Firefly Aerospace successfully launched its Alpha rocket for the first time last weekend, reaching orbit and deploying three satellites. While the latest determination of the satellites’ orbit reveals they may have not been placed in the correct orbit, the company appears to consider the orbit high enough to be considered a success. But others might not agree.
This launch comes just over a year after the Alpha rocket’s first launch attempt
exploded two and a half minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Continue reading “A Year After a Failed Launch, Firefly Reaches Orbit and Deploys Satellites”