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RIP B1060 — Rocket Report: Astroscale chases down dead rocket; Ariane 6 on the pad Rocket Factory Augsburg, a German launch startup, nears a test-firing of its booster.

Stephen Clark – May 3, 2024 11:00 am UTC Enlarge / This image captured by Astroscale’s ADRAS-J satellite shows the discarded upper stage from a Japanese H-IIA rocket.Astroscale reader comments 15

Welcome to Edition 6.42 of the Rocket Report! There are several major missions set for launch in the next few months. These include the first crew flight on Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, set for liftoff on May 6, and the next test flight of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which could happen before the end of May. Perhaps as soon as early summer, SpaceX could launch the Polaris Dawn mission with four private astronauts, who will perform the first fully commercial spacewalk in orbit. In June or July, Europe’s new Ariane 6 rocket is slated to launch for the first time. Rest assured, Ars will have it all covered.

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.

German rocket arrives at Scottish spaceport.Rocket Factory Augsburg has delivered a booster for its privately developed RFA One rocket to SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland, the company announced on X. The first stage for the RFA One rocket was installed on its launch pad at SavaVord to undergo preparations for a static fire test. The booster arrived at the Scottish launch site with five of its kerosene-fueled Helix engines. The remaining four Helix engines, for a total of nine, will be fitted to the RFA One booster at SaxaVord, the company said.

Aiming to fly this year… RFA hopes to launch its first orbital-class rocket by the end of 2024. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority last month granted a range license to SaxaVord Spaceport to allow the spaceport operator to control the sea and airspace during a launch. RFA is primarily privately funded but has won financial support from the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency, and the German space agency, known as DLR. The RFA One rocket will have three stages, stand nearly 100 feet (30 meters) tall, and can carry nearly 2,900 pounds (1,300 kilograms) of payload into a polar Sun-synchronous orbit. Advertisement

Arianespace wins ESAlaunch contract.The European Space Agency has awarded Arianespace a contract to launch a joint European-Chinese space science satellite in late 2025, European Spaceflight reports.The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) is a 4,850-pound (2,200-kilogram) spacecraft that will study Earths magnetic environment on a global scale. The aim of the mission is to build a more complete understanding of the Sun-Earth connection. On Tuesday, ESA officially signed a contract for Arianespace to launch SMILE aboard a Vega C rocket, which is built by the Italian rocket-maker Avio.

But it may notkeep it… In late 2023, ESA member states agreed to allow Avio to market and manage the launch of Vega C flights independent of Arianespace. When the deal was initially struck, 17 flights were contracted through Arianespace to be launched aboard Vega vehicles. While these missions are still managed by Arianespace, Avio is working with the launch provider to strike a deal that would allow the Italian rocket builder to assume the management of all Vega flights. The Vega C rocket has been grounded since a launch failure in 2022 forced Avio to redesign the nozzle of the rocket’s solid-fueled second stage motor. Vega C is scheduled to return to flight before the end of 2024.(submitted by Ken the Bin) The Rocket Report: An Ars newsletter The easiest way to keep up with Eric Berger’s space reporting is to sign up for his newsletter, we’ll collect his stories in your inbox. Sign Me Up!

Update on ABL’s second launch.ABL Space Systems expected to launch its second light-class RS1 rocket earlier this year, but the company encountered an anomaly during ground testing at the launch site in Alaska, according to Aria Alamalhodae of TechCrunch. Kevin Sagis, ABL’s chief engineer, said there is “no significant delay” in the launch of the second RS1 rocket, but the company has not announced a firm schedule. “During ground testing designed to screen the vehicle for flight, an issue presented that caused us to roll back to the hangar,” Sagis said, according to Alamalhodae. “We have since resolved and dispositioned the issue. There was no loss of hardware and we have validated vehicle health back out on the pad. We are continuing with preparations for static fire and launch.”

Nearly 16 monthswithout a launch… ABL’s first RS1 test flight in January 2023 ended seconds after liftoff with the premature shutdown of its liquid-fueled engines. The rocket crashed back onto its launch pad in Alaska.An investigation revealed a fire in the aft end of the RS1 booster burned through wiring harnesses, causing the rocket to lose power and shut off its engines. Engineers believe the rocket’s mobile launch mount was too small, placing the rocket too close to the groundwhen it ignited its engines. This caused the hot engine exhaust to recirculate under the rocket and led to a fire in the engine compartment as it took off. Page: 1 2 3 Next → reader comments 15 Stephen Clark Stephen Clark is a space reporter at Ars Technica, covering private space companies and the worlds space agencies. Stephen writes about the nexus of technology, science, policy, and business on and off the planet. Advertisement Channel Ars Technica ← Previous story Next story → Related Stories Today on Ars

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Dide: Masked rapper who claims to be a Premier League footballer announces first live gig




Dide: Masked rapper who claims to be a Premier League footballer announces first live gig

Dide, the anonymous masked rapper who claims to be a Premier League footballer, has announced his first live gig.

The music star, who rose to prominence on social media last year and wears a studded black rose mask to conceal his identity, will perform in London in June.

Known only as Dide, the incognito rapper has sparked frenzied speculation about his identity, with Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, Chelsea’s Noni Madueke, Fulham’s Alex Iwobi and West Ham’s Michail Antonio among the names thrown into the mix.

“The main thing for me is the music rather than the football player,” he told Sky News exclusively Iast year, in his first on-camera interview. “I guess fans and the public ran with all these different opinions, which is cool.”

Who is Dide? Sky News meets the mystery rapper

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October 2023: Dide speaks to Sky News

Announcing his first live show, he said: “Finally, my first live show! My first live public performance.

“I know you all have been getting on to me about doing one. You can’t miss this!”

The show will take place at The Lower Third on Denmark Street in Soho, central London, on 20 June.

Interestingly, England take on Denmark for their second group-stage match of Euro 2024 in Germany that afternoon. Could this be a reason behind his choice of venue, or coincidence?

Either way, presumably he won’t be at the match – ruling out Saka, who is in the England squad – but hopefully he’ll get to watch before he goes on stage.

However, there’s no mention of the England game in his announcement.

“Thank you for your support,” Dide added. “See you at the show.”

Read more on Sky News:
Woman, 28, paralysed after being crushed by grand piano

Man filmed ‘body slamming’ orca in New Zealand is fined

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Ahead of the gig announcement, Dide shared a video on social media announcing Energy, which could be a new track, to be released on Thursday.

“Time to peel back the layers,” he wrote alongside the clip. “Mask off.”

During our interview last year, he told Sky News his identity would be revealed in the future.

Fans will no doubt be watching to see if and when that happens.

Pre-sale tickets are available from 23 May, with general tickets on sale from 28 May.

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This ‘supercharger on wheels’ brings fast charging to you




This 'supercharger on wheels' brings fast charging to you

Mobile car care company Yoshi Mobility just launched a DC fast charging EV mobile unit that it likens to “a supercharger on wheels.”

Yoshi Mobility saw that its existing customers needed mobile EV charging in places where infrastructure has yet to be installed, so the Nashville-based company decided to bring the mountain to Moses.

“We recognized a demand among our customers for convenient daily charging, reliable private charging networks, and proper charging infrastructure to support their fleet vehicles as they transition to electric,” said Dan Hunter, Yoshi Mobility’s chief EV officer and cofounder.

The company says its 240 kW mobile DC fast charger, which can turn “any EV” into a mobile charging unit, is the first fully electric mobile charger available. It can provide multiple charges in a single trip but doesn’t detail how they charge the DC fast charger or who manufactured it. (I’ve asked for more details.)

Yoshi is launching its mobile charger on two GM BrightDrop Zevo 600s and will introduce additional vehicles throughout 2024. It aims for full commercialization by Q1 2025. (I wonder if the Zevo 600 ever charges itself? Yes, I asked that too.)

Yoshi Mobility says it’s already deployed its EV charging solutions to service “major OEMs, autonomous vehicle companies, and rideshare operators” across the US. Its initial customers are made up of large EV operators managing “hundreds” of light-duty vehicles requiring up to 1 megawatt of energy per day that don’t yet have grid-connected EV chargers. I’ve asked Yoshi for details of who it’s working with, and will update if they share that info.

The company says pricing is based on location and enterprise charging needs. Once under contract for service, the service will be deployed to US-based customers within 10 days.

To date, Yoshi Mobility has raised more than $60 million, with investments from GM Ventures, Bridgestone, ExxonMobil, and Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley.

Read more: Mercedes-Benz just opened more DC fast chargers at Buc-ee’s in Texas

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Toyota US boss says company is ‘catching up’ on electric vehicles




Toyota US boss says company is 'catching up' on electric vehicles

Is Toyota catching up in the US electric vehicle market? Although Toyota’s US boss, Ted Ogawa, admits it’s behind Tesla, he believes the company is “catching up” on electric vehicles and new tech.

Toyota has been among the biggest laggards in shifting to fully electric vehicles. After a rocky start (including a recall) with the launch of its first EV in the US, the bZ4X, Toyota has failed to gain traction in the market.

Of the over 2.2 million Toyota vehicles sold in the US last year, only 9,329 were all-electric, or less than 0.5%.

The trend has continued this year, with only 1,897 bZ4X models sold through March. That’s less than 0.4% of the over 486,000 Toyota vehicles sold in Q1.

Ogawa says Toyota is watching customer demand for EVs rather than regulations. “However, the BEV was our missing piece two years ago, so that’s why we were very much criticized,” Ogawa explained in a new interview with Automotive News.

After building internally over the past two years, Toyota’s US boss believes the company is “catching up” on electric vehicles and new tech.

2024 Toyota bZ4X (Source: Toyota)

Is Toyota catching up on electric vehicles?

For example, Ogawa said that Toyota headquarters is building a “very exclusive factory” for EVs.

The new “BEV Factory” will feature several new technologies new to Toyota. The company showed off its next-gen EV production line last year with Giga casting, a process made popular by Tesla.

Mixed production at Motomachi factory (Source: Toyota)

Toyota says its “wealth of knowledge” about molds will help speed up production. The company believes it can reduce the lead time for changing molds to around 20 minutes compared to 24 hours.

Other tech like self-propelled assembly lines and robots are promised to enhance efficiency while minimizing defects.

(Source: Toyota)

Toyota also revealed new EV battery plans last summer, including two next-gen batteries due out by 2027. The first “Performance” battery is promised to feature over 800 km (497 miles) range while cutting costs by 20% compared to the bZ4X.

Meanwhile, the “Popularisation” version, due out in 2026-2027, is expected to feature over 600 km (372 miles) range at 40% lower costs.

Toyota EV battery roadmap (Source: Toyota)

Further out (2027-2030), Toyota plans to launch a series of “further evolution” batteries, including solid-state batteries with over 1,000 km (621 mi) range and 10-min fast charge.

Ogawa believes “this is kind of the starting year of the real multipath way, like the hybrid, which we already have, and then plug-in, something between hybrid and BEV, and then BEV, which it is time to introduce to the market.”

Although Toyota is “of course” behind Tesla’s battery tech, according to Ogawa, the company is “catching up.” Ogawa said Toyota is not only catching up on EVs but “also the ecosystem surrounding the BEV area, such as the home charging or energy management.”

Electrek’s Take

Is Toyota really catching up this time? We’ve heard this several times in the past from executives.

With EVs accounting for less than 0.4% of sales in the US, Toyota will need to do more to prove it. Toyota planned to launch solid-state EV batteries in 2021 and 2022, but now we are not expected to see them hit the market until around 2028 (at the earliest).

Other tech, like Giga casting and automated production, will help improve efficiency, but new EVs are not expected to debut until 2026.

Toyota has made several investments recently to boost US production, including a $1.4 billion investment in Indiana to build a new electric SUV, separate from its promised three-row EV model.

Can new models and tech help Toyota catch up in the electric vehicle market this time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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