Electronics in small packages can do big things in space. That sort of sums up the thinking behind defense industry giant Lockheed Martin’s move to invest in commercial companies.
Rocket Lab, the U.S.-New Zealand company developing the Electron small launch vehicle, said Sept. 26 that it will fly four cubesats from two companies on the rocket’s next test flight late this year.
A spending bill to be marked up by House appropriators July 11 would provide a significant increase to the office responsible for licensing commercial launches, counteracting a planned cut.
Rocket Lab, a U.S.-New Zealand company developing the Electron small launch vehicle, declared success on its first launch May 25, although the rocket failed to reach orbit.
Military could have truly low-cost launch market in five years — if government puts in the effort, experts say
Experts foresee at least four companies with low-cost reusable launch technology.
“Everybody agrees on the long term,” said William LaPlante, former Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition. But getting to those goals is the hard part.
Most launch ranges aren’t equipped to handle reusable rockets, space experts said, despite the technology being widely viewed as a key to reducing launch costs.
The UK Space Agency said the grants are worth up to £10 million ($12.5 million) but launches must begin by 2020.
A startup developing a small launch vehicle says it’s on schedule for a first launch in 2018 after completing the acquisition of another small launch company.
A House committee is asking several Obama administration officials new questions about policies regarding the launch of U.S.-built satellites on Indian vehicles.
An April 19 House hearing about potential policy changes that could affect development of small launch vehicles did not result in any consensus on what action, if any, to take on issues that could affect the competitiveness of the industry.