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Rocket Report: “Crisis” for European launch industry; Japan’s H3 rocket nears debut

“Why not send one person a year to space and raise that awareness?”

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Enlarge / The Falcon 9 rocket first stage that launched the Transporter-6 mission returns to Earth on January 3, 2023. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

Welcome to Edition 5.22 of the Rocket Report, the first of the new year! I’m excited for what will happen in the world of launch in 2023, and expect that we will see the debut of a lot of big new rockets this year, including Japan’s H3, SpaceX’s Starship, and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan. And there will be many small rockets. We’ll be here all year to follow it with you.

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.

Vega rocket fails again. For the third time in its last eight flights, Europe’s Vega rocket failed a launch attempt in late December. The Vega vehicle was lost 150 seconds into its latest mission from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, the BBC reports, as it was carrying two French-built, high-resolution Earth imaging spacecraft into low Earth orbit. The failure puts further pressure on the European satellite sector, which no longer has use of Russian rockets and will see the retirement of the heavy-lift Ariane-5 launcher later this year.

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