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South Korea to spend $553 million on space projects in 2021

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea will spend 615 billion won ($553.1 million) in 2021 on space activities aimed at bolstering its capacity to produce satellites, rockets and other key equipment. The Ministry of Science and ICT announced the budget on Feb. 8, representing 16 government bodies involved in space development.

The total amount was a slight decrease from last year’s 615.8 won, marking a contrast to expanded budgets of major economies such as the United States and China amid the reignited space race with the advent of New Space.

“In 2021, we will successfully fulfill high-profile space development projects such as the launch of carrier rocket ‘Nuri’ and a next-generation medium-sized satellite with our own technology,” Jeong Byung-seon, 1st vice minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT, said in a statement. 

Nearly half the budget, or 322.6 billion won, will be spent on the development of observation and multipurpose communications satellites and an integrated satellite data management system for public services including weather forecasting and marine and environmental observation.

Specifically, two multipurpose observation satellites are under development to be sent into orbit next year. A system design for two others — an ordinary observation satellite and a microsatellite constellation — is underway. And there are five others that are being developed for the purpose of scientific research.

101-second test fire keeps KSLV-2 on track

Nearly 30 percent of the budget, or 189.7 billion won, will go to the launch of the nation’s first domestically developed rocket KSLV-2, nicknamed Nuri. South Korea plans to launch the new 200-ton KSLV-2 with a mock payload in October at Naro Space Center in Goheung, while a second launch, carrying a real satellite, is slated for May 2022 from the same launch site. 

While the country sent its 140-ton KSLV-1 rocket into space in 2013 after two failed attempts, the first-stage, main rocket on that launch vehicle was built using Russian technologies. But the KSLV-2 relies entirely on homegrown technologies. Boasting four 75-ton liquid engines in its first-stage booster, the three-stage rocket is meant to carry a 1.5-ton satellite into low Earth orbit. The second stage has a single 75-ton engine and the third stage has a seven-ton engine. 

A second round of combustion tests on the KSLV-2’s first stage engines were conducted Feb. 25. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)  said the test lasted 101 seconds and revealed no apparent problems with the engines’ durability. The engines passed a 30-second first test in January and will go through the last 130-second test in March. If the final test is successful, South Korea will remain on track for the rocket’s October demonstration launch.

While KSLV-2 development continues, South Korea will launch a mid-sized satellite on Russia’s Soyuz rocket in March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will be used to monitor urban areas and topographical features and design maps.

In addition, South Korea will take its first major step toward moon exploration with 52.6 billion won set aside for developing Korea’s first lunar orbiter.

The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, set to launch in August 2022 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, will image the moon.

In the longer term, South Korea will come up with a road map to reduce space debris, although specific plans were not stated.

“I expect a big budget increase next year because the government is preparing to launch several big-budget projects including Korea Positioning System that would cost 4 trillion won,” said An Hyoung-joon, a research fellow at Science and Technology Policy Institute, a South Korean state think tank. “More government bodies and private companies are paying attention to space and exploring ways to use it effectively, which I believe will bring more money into space development.” 

SpaceNews

Source: https://spacenews.com/south-korea-to-spend-553-million-on-space-projects-in-2021/

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Virgin Galactic unveils new spaceship for its growing fleet

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Virgin Galactic has unveiled the company’s first SpaceShip III in its growing fleet, VSS Imagine.

The spaceship showcases Virgin Galactic’s innovation in design and astronaut experience. Imagine also demonstrates progress toward efficient design and production, as Virgin Galactic works to scale the business for the long-term.

VSS Imagine will commence ground testing, with glide flights planned for this summer from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The livery design, finished entirely with a mirror-like material, reflects the surrounding environment, constantly changing colour and appearance as it travels from earth to sky to space.

Leveraging a modular design, the SpaceShip III class of vehicles are built to enable improved performance in terms of maintenance access and flight rate. This third generation of spaceship will lay the foundation for the design and manufacture of future vehicles.

As VSS Imagine begins ground testing, manufacturing will progress on VSS Inspire, the second SpaceShip III vehicle within the Virgin Galactic fleet. The introduction of the SpaceShip III class of vehicles is an important milestone in Virgin Galactic’s multi-year effort that targets flying 400 flights per year, per spaceport.

VSS Imagine is unveiled ahead of VSS Unity’s next test flight, which is planned for May 2021.

Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, commented: “Today we unveiled our SpaceShip III class of vehicles, marking the beginning of the Virgin Galactic fleet. VSS Imagine and Inspire are stunning ships that will take our future astronauts on an incredible voyage to space, and their names reflect the aspirational nature of human spaceflight. Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone.”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, added: “Virgin Galactic spaceships are built specifically to deliver a new, transforming perspective to the thousands of people who will soon be able to experience the wonder of space for themselves. As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at, but represents Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of spaceships. All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea. Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet.”

www.virgingalactic.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/virgin-galactic-unveils-new-spaceship-for-its-growing-fleet/

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Hexcel joins ASCEND project

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Hexcel joins ASCEND project

Hexcel has announced its role within the recently launched UK-based project called ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development) that will focus on developing high-rate manufacturing and processing technologies that will accelerate the development of new, lightweight advanced composite materials.

The composites company will join lead partner GKN Aerospace and 13 other project stakeholders in a collaboration across the UK supply chain to develop the technologies and automation equipment required to manufacture lightweight, more fuel-efficient structures for sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive industries.

Hexcel will contribute to the ASCEND project framework, developing a new HexPly fast cure prepreg system that will significantly reduce component processing times compared to existing aerospace prepregs.

In addition to its new fast curing prepreg technology, Hexcel’s range of Liquid Composite Moulding (LCM) products will be incorporated into the ASCEND project work packages. The project will use both HiTape advanced unidirectional dry carbon reinforcements and HiMax multiaxial non-crimp fabrics reinforcements.

The ASCEND project will allow Hexcel to collaborate with Tier 1 companies, engineers, tooling specialists, and production equipment OEMs to deliver both prepreg and liquid composite moulding solutions that meet both the performance targets and satisfy the processing requirements for high-rate automated manufacture.

The technical integration enabled by the ASCEND project partnerships will ensure a complete understanding of customer performance and processing needs, coupled with the opportunity to industrialize new technologies utilizing the extensive capabilities of GKN’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

Paul Mackenzie, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Hexcel, said “We are  proud to be part of the ASCEND program, and we look forward to working with other leading companies as we develop processes and materials that help to make the next generation of sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive vehicles possible. This project offers the perfect platform for Hexcel to collaborate and further develop our HexPly, HiMax, and HiTape technologies.”

The ASCEND partners working alongside Hexcel include Assyst Bulmer, Airborne, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne, Cygnet Texkimp, DES Composites, FAR-UK, Hive Composites, LMAT, Loop Technology, McLaren Automotive, The National Composites Centre, Solvay Composite Technologies, Rafinex, and Sigmatex (UK).

Together, the group looks forward to delivering the material and automation innovations that will power more sustainable mobility solutions of the future.

www.hexcel.com

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes extends landing gear kits contract with Magellan

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes division has extended its component supply contract with Canada-based supplier Magellan Aerospace.

Under this long-term contract, Magellan will continue to supply landing gear kits and structural components for Boeing platforms such as the 737, 767, and 777.

The contract extension also shows that Magellan meets Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ cost, quality and performance requirements.

Magellan business development, marketing and contract vice-president Haydn Martin said: “Securing this major business extension for key Boeing platforms is foundational for our New York and Kitchener facilities as the aerospace industry works to recover from the impact of the global pandemic.

“The confidence that Boeing has placed in Magellan is significant and demonstrates our ability to offer our customers comprehensive and reliable solutions.”

For Boeing, the company is using a vertical integration strategy that leverages global resources in Ontario, New York City, and India.

It has also made significant investments across all its facilities regarding manufacturing technology and the workforce to enhance its competitiveness worldwide.

Magellan will deliver these kits and hardware from its facilities in Kitchener, Ontario and New York City, New York. The company will also produce an extra supply of kits to reduce production risk.

Deliveries will be made directly to Boeing’s assembly facilities in Renton and Everett, Washington, US.

Last month, Magellan signed a five-year renewal agreement with Avio Aero to supply magnesium and aluminium castings.

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/boeing-commercial-aircraft-magellan/

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ZeroAvia raises new funding for hydrogen-electric engine development

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Zero-emission aviation firm ZeroAvia has raised $24.3m in new funding to support the development of a 2MW hydrogen-electric engine.

Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Horizons Ventures, an existing investor, led the latest funding round and was joined by new investor British Airways.

Other investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and SYSTEMIQ, also joined the financing.

The financing takes the company’s total private investment to more than $53m while the total funding raised is close to $74m since its formation.

ZeroAvia’s funding comes a few months after the UK Government, through the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK, announced a $16.3m (£12.3m) grant to deliver a 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft in the market by 2023.

The new funding will accelerate the hydrogen-electric powertrain development for a ten to 20-seater regional aircraft.

ZeroAvia aims to commercialise the engine as early as 2024. The company aims to enter the more than 50-seater commercial aircraft segment by 2026.

The funding will also de-risk the company ambition to power a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030.

ZeroAvia CEO and founder Val Miftakhov said: “This new funding, in conjunction with our other recent milestones, will significantly accelerate our path to zero-emission solutions for larger regional aircraft at a commercial scale.

“With many airlines lining up and ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology.”

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/zeroavia-electric-raising-funds/

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