Launch: Virgin Galactic video + Firefly’s comeback + Rocket Lab’s flight plans

NewSpace Watch
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Launch
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August 7, 2018

A new video from Virgin Galactic focuses on Julia Hunter, VG Vice President and longtime employee, who

gives us a behind-the-scenes look into her life as a program leader, astrophysics scholar and space mom working to realize a longtime dream of opening commercial spaceflight to citizens and science. Join Julia as she narrates a key test flight that surpassed 170,800 feet, reaching Mach 2.47. VSS Unity was piloted by Dave Mackay and Mike “Sooch” Masucci, with pilots Kelly Latimer and Todd Ericson in carrier aircraft VMS Eve.

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Firefly is certainly the Phoenix of the NewSpace era: Firefly ‘back in full force’ following last year’s near-death experience – SpaceNews.com

Two years ago, Firefly Space Systems appeared to be flying high. The Texas company had more than 150 employees and was making progress on a small launch vehicle called Alpha. The company was one of three that won NASA contracts for smallsat launches, with plans to carry out that launch in early 2018.

Then the bottom fell out of the company. In late September 2016 the company announced it was furloughing its entire staff, citing financial problems when an unnamed investor backed out. The company limped along using loans until last spring, when Noosphere Ventures, a fund that was one of Firefly’s creditors, acquired the company’s assets in an auction. With new ownership, but some of the same management, the new Firefly Aerospace quietly started operations.

Firefly isn’t quiet any more, though. The company is actively developing a new version of its Alpha launch vehicle slated to make a first launch next fall from California and actively marketing that vehicle, with strong financial backing from its new owners.

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More about Rocket Lab‘s launch schedule: Rocket Lab to return in November and immediately follow up with NASA launch in December – NASASpaceFlight.com

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