SMALL ROCKETS CRASH MORE OFTEN

May 12, 2020

SMALL ROCKETS.

IT’S A FACT: THEY CRASH A LOT

 

Since January 1, 2006 31.5% of FAA-licensed small rockets that launched or were preparing to launch exploded, burned, or crashed. (source: http://www.spacelaunchreport.com)

 

Analysis:

If approved, the Spaceport Camden site license will allow only expendable, liquid-fuel rockets in the Small-lift Class (SCLV). There are only three, active FAA-licensed small-lift class, liquid-fueled, orbital rockets labeled as [A], [B], and [C] in the FAA table. At this time, the FAA is only considering a "hypothetical" rocket for the license.

 

 A  Rocket Lab Electron

11 Attempts. No explosions. All launches made from Mahia, New Zealand with planned first launch from Virginia's MARS Spaceport in 3rd quarter 2020.

 

 B  Astra Rocket 1, Rocket 2, and Rocket 3

Three Launch attempts. No successful launches. Two midair explosions over Kodiak spaceport in 2018. Kodiak Launch pad explosion March 23, 2020 during wet rehearsal.

 

 C  Virgin Orbit Launcher 1

Air launched rocket from a Boeing 747. No launch attempts as of 05/10/2020. Cannot use Spaceport Camden

 

 X  SpaceX Falcon 1 (Active 2006-2009)

Five launch attempts from Kwajalein Island, Marshall Islands. Three Explosions.

 

No other active US rocket companies have known orbital rocket launch attempts since January 1, 2006.

 

Total Launches Small-lift Rocket Launches = 19

Total Explosions Small-lift Rocket Launches = 6  

=31.5% FAILURE RATE due to explosions, fire, or crashes

 

Rockets that cannot launch from Spaceport Camden:

All red shaded rockets in the FAA Table are medium or larger lift class, are solid fuel rockets, or are

sub-orbital (Super Strypi, New Shepard and Spaceship Two.) None of those can launch from Spaceport Camden.

 

 

Small Rocket Companies That Haven’t Launched A Rocket:

 

Firefly states they will attempt their first launch in 2020. Their rocket erupted in a test stand fire on January 22, 2020:

 

Astra has stated they will attempt a fourth launch. They should have the rocket they prepared for the second DARPA Challenge launch unless their 3rd failure (weeks after failing to launch for the DARPA Challenge) identified major design defects. See also: ASTRA REDUCES STAFF

 

The EXOS Aerospace SARGE is probably testing under an experimental permit but those permits are not listed on the FAA website. See Part 437. No experimental rocket has proven orbital flight-worthy. The Vector Camden launch in 2017 was an Advanced High-Power Amateur rocket requiring a FAA airspace waiver but was not licensed or permitted.

 

FAA's February 27, 2020 LETTER TO CAMDEN

ABOUT APPROVING A SPACEPORT WITHOUT A LAUNCHABLE ROCKET:

 

 

 

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