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Rocket Report: Starship flight test slips to 2023; first methane launch is imminent

“We need some adult supervision there to actually help these guys.”



Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket lands Thursday evening after launching the OneWeb 1 mission. Relativity Space’s Terran 1 rocket is in the background, awaiting its debut launch. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

Welcome to Edition 5.20 of the Rocket Report! I have really enjoyed celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission this week. While it is bittersweet that humans have not been back to the Moon since, it is comforting to know that we are now following a sure and steady path that will lead us back in the not-too-distant future.

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.

Virgin Orbit launch from UK slips into 2023. Earlier this week Virgin Orbit sent out a news release indicating that the launch window for its LauncherOne mission from Cornwall, England, would open on December 14. But on Thursday, the company said its mission had been delayed for at least several weeks, BBC News reports. In a statement, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said, “With licenses still outstanding for the launch itself and for the satellites within the payload, additional technical work needed to establish system health and readiness, and a very limited available launch window of only two days, we have determined that it is prudent to retarget launch for the coming weeks to allow ourselves and our stakeholders time to pave the way for full mission success.”

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