Rocket Report: Virgin Orbit may launch this month, Rocket Lab is back

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Welcome to Edition 2.43 of the Rocket Report! This is probably the longest report we’ve published, and it’s due to the surfeit of news in the world of launch. So much is happening, especially on the small side of things, and we’re doing our best to stay on top of things.

As always, we welcome reader submissions for these updates—in fact we’d struggle to put out each issue without this help. We especially encourage international tips. And if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe to

Why countries keep bowing to Apple and Google’s contact tracing app requirements


Last month, after Apple and Google announced some changes to their forthcoming attempt to track the spread of COVID-19, I noted the surprising degree to which tech giants are setting the terms of the pandemic response. They own the hardware, they own the software, and national governments who would use it to find new cases of COVID-19 have to do it on the companies’ terms.

This week, that process began to accelerate. But first, a bit of background.

The Apple-Google collaboration will ask you to opt in to a system that causes your phone to emit Bluetooth signals to

Samsung to launch a Samsung Pay debit card this summer


Samsung plans to launch a Samsung Pay debit card this summer, the company announced today in a blog post by Sang Ahn, vice president and general manager of Samsung Pay in North America (via Android Central). Samsung will launch the card, which will be backed by a cash management account, in partnership with personal finance company SoFi, Ahn said.

Samsung is also developing a “mobile-first money management platform,” according to Ahn. His blog doesn’t detail what features that money management platform or the upcoming debit card may have, but he does say that Samsung will share more

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