Rocket Report: A new Delta 2, Blue Origin inks with NASA, a fiery Falcon Heavy

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Welcome to Edition 1.45 of the Rocket Report! This week, half of our stories concern the biggest rockets on the planet, from Blue Origin engine tests at Marshall Space Flight Center to NASA’s efforts to accelerate development of the Space Launch System.

Stratolaunch flies for the first time. The world’s largest airplane, nicknamed Roc, took to the skies for the first time on Saturday, April 13. The flight lasted 150 minutes, during which time the aircraft reached a maximum of 15,000 feet and a top speed of 189mph, Parabolic Arc reports. Backed by Microsoft-co-founder Paul Allen and built by Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, the aircraft is designed to air-launch satellites using boosters carried on the wing between its two fuselages.

Not to change the topic here:

NASA’s $17-billion moon rocket may be doomed before it ever gets to the launch pad

NASA has been toiling away on a monster rocket for the past eight years ‘ but how much action the skyscraper-size Space Launch System will see once it’s completed is now anybody’s guess.

Designed to send humans and almost 60,000 pounds of cargo to the moon and perhaps beyond, the SLS will be bigger and more powerful than any rocket since the Saturn V behemoth that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon 50 years ago. NASA has said the rocket will send Americans back to the lunar surface as early as 2024, with an uncrewed test flight tentatively scheduled for 2020.

Watch SpaceX Launch a Falcon Heavy on Its First Real Mission

A little over a year ago, SpaceX pulled off a showy first launch for its new rocket, the Falcon Heavy. The flight dispatched founder Elon Musk’s cherry-red Tesla convertible, with an empty spacesuit dubbed Starman in the driver’s seat, on a multimillion-year journey around the solar system. After the launch, the rocket’s three first-stage boosters returned to Earth to attempt an unprecedented synchronized landing.

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Greetings Earthlings: Cloaking was activated. The data presented above may one day be zapped to another dimension. Just thought you should be aware. Hey, buddy, why are all the planets not aligning?