Several startups offering dedicated launches for small satellites say they are on the verge of carrying their first customers, but none so far have progressed beyond test launches.
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.
Rocket Lab blamed the failure of its first Electron rocket to reach orbit on a telemetry glitch in ground equipment that can be easily corrected, keeping the company on track to begin commercial launches by the end of this year.
Despite the ongoing development of a fleet of small launch vehicles, both launch providers and customers continue to see demand for flying small satellites as secondary payloads on larger rockets.
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.
Wind conditions at the New Zealand launch site subsided, but the company said concerns about static electric charges led them to postpone the launch.
The company said Sunday that high winds at its New Zealand launch site prevented rolling the rocket out to the pad, pushing back the launch to late Monday.
Spaceflight, a company that arranges launches for small satellites, announced May 17 is it purchasing a launch from Rocket Lab for payloads seeking access to a less common orbit.
Rocket Lab, a U.S.-New Zealand company developing a small launch vehicle, announced March 21 that it has raised an additional $75 million that will help the company scale up production of the rocket.
Small satellite launch company Rocket Lab shipped its first orbital launch vehicle to the company’s Launch Complex 1 facility to kick off pre-flight checkouts ahead of a test campaign consisting of three trial launches.
Moon Express announced Jan. 13 that it has closed a $20 million financing round, giving the company sufficient funds for an attempt to win the Google Lunar X Prize later this year.
A launch site nearing completion in New Zealand for use by a new small launch vehicle survived a major earthquake there unscathed, according to Rocket Lab.