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Conceptual images of Russia’s upcoming Amur reusable rocket.

Conceptual images of Russia’s upcoming Amur reusable rocket.
Image: Roscosmos

Roscosmos is moving ahead with plans to build Russia’s first reusable rocket. Glancing at the design, it appears the Russian space agency doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel, given the vehicle’s uncanny resemblance to the SpaceX Falcon 9.

Roscosmos signed a contract with the Progress Rocket Space Centre to sketch out a preliminary design for the Amur-SPG reusable rocket, reports Russian news agency TASS. The inaugural launch is planned for 2026, when the methane-powered rocket will take off from the Vostochny spaceport in eastern Russia. Roscomos is hoping for individual launch costs no greater than $22 million, with the total cost of developing the system at around $880 million.

As Ars Technica space reporter Eric Berger rightly pointed out in a recent tweet, the new design seems uncomfortably recognizable.

“Russia has clearly decided that if

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An epic set of new videos shows the fiery power of Firefly Aerospace’s forthcoming Alpha rocket.

The company showed off first-stage testing, which will certify Alpha for a test flight this fall, in new YouTube videos which include drone footage, fixed ground footage and a mix of cameras that also show off the engines swiveling to test maneuvers during flight.

“Today we performed a test of the Alpha flight first stage,” the startup company said on Twitter Sept. 20. “The four Reaver engines performed 35 seconds of thrust vector control maneuvers, challenging the flame deflectors to constrain all that Reaver power. Today’s test was a major step in Firefly’s march to first flight.”

Related: Firefly Aerospace uses rocket engine to light birthday candles in epic cake video

Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket struts its stuff in videos of new testing.  (Image credit: Firefly Aerospace)

The two-stage Alpha rocket was supposed

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new U.S. spy satellite will launch into space early Saturday (Sept. 27) on the mightiest rocket built by the United Launch Alliance (ULA): the massive Delta IV Heavy.

The booster is set to blast off overnight at 12:10 a.m. EDT (0410  GMT) from Pad 37 here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to carry the classified NROL-44 satellite into orbit for the  the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). You  can watch all the fiery action live online, courtesy of ULA. Launch coverage will begin about 20 minutes prior to liftoff, and you can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage or directly via the ULA webcast. 

The mission has been delayed nearly a month after a rare, last-second abort on the launch pad on Aug. 29. According to ULA, the launch window lasts about 94 minutes.

Declassified: Vintage US spy satellites and

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