Rocket Report: Lots of new engines, SpaceX review explained, BFR changes

Enlarge (credit: Rocket Lab)

Welcome to Edition 1.27 of the Rocket Report! After a week off for Thanksgiving break, we’re chock full of news about rockets and engines from around the world—some of which seem fanciful, and some of which are real developments.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if 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-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

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Virgin flies its rocket for the first time. No, it wasn’t a powered flight, but Virgin Orbit did perform a “captive-carry” test flight on November 18 in Victorville, located to the northeast of Los Angeles. The company strapped its 21-meter LauncherOne rocket to a modified 747 aircraft and took to the skies. “The vehicles flew like a dream today,” Virgin Orbit Chief Pilot Kelly Latimer said. “Everyone on the flight crew and all of our colleagues on the ground were extremely happy with the data we saw from the instruments on-board the aircraft, in the pylon, and on the rocket itself. From my perspective in the cockpit, the vehicles handled incredibly well, and perfectly matched what we’ve trained for in the simulators.”

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