Odds and Ends 

Virgin Galactic relocates SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity to its spaceport for preparations ahead of commercial flights

Virgin Galactic is one crucial step closer to actually flying paying customers to space: The space tourism company just relocated its SpaceShipTwo vehicle, the VSS Unity, from its Mojave, California manufacturing facility to Spaceport America in New Mexico, where it will begin flights with a goal of at least sending company founder Richard Branson to space during the year of his 70th birthday. VSS Unity made the trip attached to the carrier aircraft that will bring it up to its launch altitude, where it’ll detach from the plane (named ‘VMS…

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Relativity, the 3D-printed-rocket manufacturer, inks multi-year contract with Telesat

, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of 3D-printed rockets, has signed its first public commercial contract with Telesat, the longtime vendor of satellite services for telecommunications and business information.  The deal marks the first agreement between a major satellite operator and an entirely venture-backed company in the “New Space” industry and is a huge win for Relativity’s low-cost rocket manufacturing platform. Relativity’s first launch of its Terran 1 rocket, the first fully 3D-printed rocket built using Relativity’s proprietary printing technology, is slated for the end of 2020. The company already has…

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SpaceX successfully launches its heaviest geostationary orbital payload yet

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a payload from communications satellite operate Inmarsat, the fourth in a constellation created to provide high-bandwidth broadspeed Internet globally. The payload is the largest ever launched on a Falcon 9, which is why the mission parameters didnt call for an attempt to recover the first stage of the rocket. The launch was originally slated to be done with one of SpaceXs Falcon Heavy rockets, but the company has yet to bring those into commercial operation. Instead, the Falcon 9s top payload capacity has…

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