Missile report: North Korean missile explosion; Launching over the Chinese horizon

Zoom in / A seaborne version of the commercial Sirius 1 rocket lifts off near the coast of Rizhao, a city of 3 million people in China’s Shandong province.

Welcome to Rocket Report version 6.46! It looks like we’ll be covering the crew test flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft and the fourth test flight of SpaceX’s giant Starship rocket over the next week. All of this is happening as SpaceX continues its pace of flying multiple Starlink missions per week. The real stars are Ars copy editors who help make sure our stories don’t use the wrong names.

As always, we are Reader submissions are welcomeIf 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 missiles as well as a quick look at the next three launches on the calendar.

Another North Korean launch failed. North Korea’s latest attempt to launch a missile using a military reconnaissance satellite ended in failure because the missile exploded in midair during a first-stage flight this week, South Korea said. According to Yonhap News Agency. Video taken by Japanese news agency NHK The North Korean missile appeared to disappear in a fireball shortly after taking off Monday evening from a launch pad on the country’s northwest coast. North Korean officials admitted the launch failed and said the missile was carrying a small reconnaissance satellite called Malygyong-1-1.

Russia’s role? …Experts initially believed the impending North Korean launch, which was known in advance through international airspace warning notices, would use the same Chŏllima 1 missile that was used in three flights last year. But North Korean statements following the launch on Monday indicated that the missile used a new propulsion system that burns petroleum fuel, presumably kerosene, with liquid oxygen as the oxidizer. The Chŏllima 1 rocket design used a toxic mixture of hypertonic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide as propellant. If North Korea’s statement is true, it would represent a notable leap in the country’s missile technology and raise the question of whether Russia played a significant role in the launch. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged more Russian support for North Korea’s missile program during a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Submitted by Ken the Ben and Jay500001)

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Rocket Lab deploys a small climate satellite for NASA. Rocket Lab is currently conducting back-to-back launches for NASA, carrying identical climate research satellites to different orbits to study space heat loss in Earth’s polar regions. The polar radiant energy in the PREFIRE satellites is about the size of a shoebox, and… NASA says data from PREFIRE It will improve computer models that researchers use to predict how ice, seas and weather on Earth will change in a warming world. “The difference between the amount of heat absorbed by Earth in the tropics and that emitted from the Arctic and Antarctica has a major impact on the planet’s temperature, helping to drive dynamic climate and weather systems,” NASA said in a statement.

twice a week… NASA selected Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle to deliver the two PREFIRE satellites to orbit in two dedicated flights rather than launching at a lower cost on a ride-sharing mission. This is because scientists want the satellites to fly in proper alignment to ensure they fly over the poles several hours apart, providing the data needed to measure how the rate of heat radiation from the polar regions changes over time. PREFIRE’s first launch occurred on May 25, and the next launch is scheduled for May 31. Both launches will take off from Rocket Lab’s base in New Zealand. (Submitted by Ken Penn)

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A missile launch reaches Rizhao. China has diversified its launch sector over the past decade to include new families of small satellite launchers and new spaceports. One of these small, relatively new rockets, the solid-fueled Ceres 1, lifted off Wednesday from a floating launch pad about 2 miles (3 km) off the coast of Rizhao, a city of about 3 million in China’s Shandong province. The Ceres 1 rocket, developed by a quasi-commercial company called Galactic Energy, has been launched from land-based launchers and a sea-based launch pad, but this mission originated from a location remarkably close to shore, with a high horizon. Greater metropolitan area as background.

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Range safety …There is no obvious reason in orbital mechanics to place the rocket’s floating launch pad near a major Chinese city, other than to gain a logistical advantage by launching near a port. The Ceres 1 rocket has a fairly good reliability record — 11 successes in 12 flights — but for safety reasons, no Western spaceport allows members of the public (let alone a few million) to get close to the rocket’s launch. For decades, Chinese missiles have routinely dropped rocket boosters containing toxic fuel on farms and villages beneath the country’s inland spaceports.

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