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New ‘affordable rocket’ could fly lunar missions

A new “affordable rocket” has been announced by Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems. The companies say their new line of Athena rockets will be able to carry satellites of up to 1,712 kg into low Earth orbit or even make “missions to the Moon” and will fill a “critical niche in affordable rockets” (press release). They don’t say just what ‘affordable’ means in this context, but space amateurs may be better off sticking to the weather balloons for now. Lockheed and Alliant’s rocket is a next generation of their Athena rockets, one of which is still the only commercial vehicle 

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