Rocket Report: Military space plane returns to pad, SLS engine costs soar

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (credit: SpaceX)

Welcome to Edition 2.43 of the Rocket Report! This is probably the longest report we’ve published, and it’s due to the surfeit of news in the world of launch. So much is happening, especially on the small side of things, and we’re doing our best to stay on top of things.

As always, we welcome reader submissions for these updates—in fact we’d struggle to put out each issue without this help. We especially encourage international tips. And if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe to this weekly report as an e-mail newsletter.

Virgin Orbit targeting first launch this month? Virgin Orbit could attempt its first orbital test launch later this month over the Pacific Ocean southwest of Los Angeles, Spaceflight Now reports. This launch would cap a development program for an air-launched small-satellite carrier that began in earnest eight years ago. A dedicated mission on LauncherOne costs $12 million.

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