Hello and welcome back to Max Q!
In this issue:
- Relativity scrubs first Terran 1 launch attempt
- Claims of age discrimination in hiring at Blue Origin
- News from Starfish Space and more
Relativity Space called off the first launch attempt of the Terran 1 rocket last Wednesday, a little more than half an hour before the close of the launch window. A few days later, on Saturday, the rocket hit an automated abort due to the fuel pressure on the second stage. They now join every other space company in history in not launching their vehicle on the first attempt.
Launching rockets is hard! It would’ve been astounding if they’d pulled it off on the first — or even second — try.
“The team went HARD today and we intend to do so during our next attempt. More to come on the new launch date and window soon,” the company said in a tweet.
Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Blue Origin alleging discriminatory hiring practices based on age, TechCrunch has learned.
The first suit was filed last summer by a former Blue Origin engineer who participated on company interview panels, and who claims that he was instructed by his supervisor to seek out younger candidates. The second complaint, which was filed in January, is being brought by a 64-year-old prospective employee who repeatedly and unsuccessfully applied for jobs for which interviewers said he was qualified.
Read more about the suits by clicking the link above. Blue Origin did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.
More news from TC and beyond
- BlackSky secured a contract worth more than $150 million from an unnamed international ministry of defense customer, and continues to reduce its quarterly losses, the company reported during a quarterly earnings call. (CNBC)
- Crew-5 is back from the International Space Station. Welcome home. (SpaceX)
- Elon Musk is in the early stages of developing his own town for SpaceX, Boring Co. and Tesla employees, about 35 miles outside of Austin, Texas. (WSJ)
- Ispace will list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on April 12. Interestingly, in a statement to the exchange the company said it had around $700,000 in capital as of March 8. (ispace)
- Japan’s second launch attempt of the H3 rocket ended with the total destruction of the launch vehicle, after Japanese space agency officials were forced to issue a self-destruct command a few minutes after take-off. (BBC)
- Lonestar Data Holdings, a company that wants to establish data centers on the moon, closed a $5 million seed round. (SpaceNews)
- Momentus is burning cash quickly, though interim CFO Dennis Mahoney told investors during a quarterly earnings call that the company has enough liquidity to meet its needs for the next 12 months. (Payload)
- NASA reported the Artemis II mission is on track for 2024, after extensively reviewing data from the Artemis I mission and confirming it a success. (NASA)
- Rocket Lab called off a launch from its Virginia site that was scheduled for Saturday, citing high winds. (Rocket Lab)
- Starfish Space, a company developing an orbital servicing spacecraft, closed $14 million ahead of its first demonstration mission this summer. (TechCrunch)
- The U.S. Space Force allocated Cape Canaveral launch pad real estate to Stoke Space, ABL Space, Phantom Space and Vaya Space as part of the department’s new launch pad allocation strategy. The companies are joining Relativity, SpaceX, ULA and Blue Origin. (Space Launch Delta)
- The White House is requesting a 7% YoY increase to NASA’s FY2024 budget, to $27.2 billion; notable requests include a $500 million increase for the Artemis program and funding for a space tug to deorbit the International Space Station. (Space)
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Photo and Author: Aria Alamalhodaei