Hello and welcome back to Max Q. Happy Labor Day! Due to the newsletter’s schedule, I will have finished writing this by the time NASA makes the second launch attempt of the Artemis I mission. By now you probably know how it all happened! In this edition:
- SpaceX is doing more missions to transport astronauts
- Starlink is coming to Royal Caribbean
- News from Axiom Space, Ursa Major and more
By the way… TechCrunch Disrupt finally returns – live and in person – to San Francisco on October 18-20. Use this link to get 15% off passes (excludes online and expo).
NASA has finalized an agreement with SpaceX to purchase five more missions to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, further cementing the space company’s position as a major service provider for the space agency.
The new contract — for the Crew-10, Crew-11, Crew-12, Crew-13 and Crew-14 missions — is valued at $1.4 billion. It brings the total contract value for all 14 transport missions, part of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program, to $4.9 billion. The funds include the use of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to transport up to four astronauts, the Falcon 9 rocket for launch and all other return and recovery operations. NASA announced its intention to order additional missions in June.
Just one month after SpaceX announced its Starlink Maritime service, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines said it will add the service to its entire cruise fleet. No surprise: the test rollout “received overwhelmingly positive feedback,” the cruise line said in a statement.
The coverage will likely be better than what currently exists on cruise ships today. The service costs about $5,000 a month, not including a $10,000 hardware fee paid up front.
More news from TC and beyond
- ABL Space Systems will fly the RS1 rocket for the first time as soon as the US Federal Aviation Administration administers the launch license, founder Dan Piedmont said on LinkedIn.
- Astra make a deal with Airbus OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture that manufactures satellites for OneWeb, to provide Astra Spacecraft Engines for the small satellites built by AOS.
- Axiom Cosmos signed an agreement with NASA for a second fully private mission to the International Space Station to launch in the second quarter of 2023.
- of China The Ministry of Science and Technology approved an evaluation of the work of nuclear reactor in space, which could be used to power and propel spacecraft.
- Elon Musk said SpaceX is aimed at 100 orbital fields next year, or a launch rate of about one mission every 3.6 days.
- Firefly Aerospace announced Bill Weberaerospace executive who was most recently CEO of KeyW Corporation as CEO as the company awaits its next orbital launch attempt on 9/11.
- NASA and China are considering the same landing spots at the lunar south pole for their separate exploration programs.
- Orbit Fab announced pricing for its refueling service for spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit: 20 million dollars for 100 kilograms of hydrazine.
- Stopsa company that builds reusable satellites, closed a seed round of $7.1 million led by Moonshots Capital, with participation from Draper Associates, Starlight Ventures, Kittyhawk Ventures, AIR Capital, Starburst Ventures, Shasta Ventures and others.
- Fourth phasea start-up company developing radio frequency plasma propulsion systems, said the newest board member is former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
- A rocket laboratory completed successful test fire on a reusable Rutherford engine for the first time, bringing the company one step closer to making the Electron rocket fully reusable.
- Skyroot Aerospace raised a $51 million Series B led by GIC to further develop its small launch vehicles.
- SpaceX conducted a static fire test of three Raptor engines on the Super Heavy booster for the first time, part of the company’s test campaign for its Starship ultra-super-heavy launch system.
- Big Bear signed a $3.6 million contract with the US Air Force to promote development of the company’s 5,000-pound thrust Hadley rocket engine.
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