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Space Force: Too early to say if military will need super heavy launch vehicles

WASHINGTON — The launch vehicles the U.S. Space Force selected last month to fly its satellites — United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur, and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy — meet the national security needs for the foreseeable future, said Brig. Gen. D. Jason Cothern, who oversees launch services procurement for the U.S. Space Force.

“We are super excited about the future of space launch,” Cothern, the vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, said Sept. 8 during a virtual forum hosted by the RAND Corp.

Cothern however would not speculate on whether the Space Force might one day have a need for the super heavy reusable launchers like SpaceX’s Starship or Blue Origin’s New Glenn.

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Safety panel concerned about quality control on Boeing crew capsule

Members of NASA’s independent panel of aerospace safety advisors raised concerns last week about quality control problems that “seemingly have plagued” Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule program, while urging NASA to closely monitor SpaceX’s plans to reuse Crew Dragon spaceships on astronaut flights to the International Space Station.

An unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in December ended prematurely after a programming error in the capsule’s mission elapsed timer caused the ship to burn too much fuel shortly after separating from its Atlas 5 rocket.

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What does it mean to be a NASA astronaut in the celebrity space age of Elon Musk and Richard Branson?

The journey to outer space for American astronauts for the past seven years has begun at a Soviet-era launch site in Kazakhstan, deep in Central Asia. There, they pay homage to Russian cosmonauts and graciously participate in the rituals of their hosts, even the tradition of urinating on the right rear tire of the bus that ferries them to the rocket.

The landscape is barren and desiccated, resembling the moon or some distant celestial body, a reminder that the astronauts are a long way from Cape Canaveral.

MSN.com