Cartoon rocket superimposed over real rocket launch.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson/United Launch Alliance)

Welcome to Edition 1.28 of the Rocket Report! Lots of news this week, and much of it good, with Stratolaunch reaching an important test, Firefly winning a sweet contract from NASA, and the H3 getting its first commercial flight. All in all, a nice week in launch.

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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Branson says Virgin will reach space before Christmas. The entrepreneur behind Virgin Galactic told CNN Business at the end of November that he is “pretty confident” his space tourism venture can achieve its milestone by the end of the year. “I obviously would love to prove our critics wrong, and I’m reasonably confident that before Christmas, we will do so,” Richard Branson said. The VSS Unity spacecraft has previously flown to an altitude of 32 miles.

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