A NASA small launch vehicle competition attracted bids from 10 companies, but half of them were effectively disqualified because of deficiencies or other problems.
Executives with several major small launch vehicle companies say both the economic repercussions of the pandemic and the growing interest by the U.S. government in such vehicles could reshape the industry.
Firefly Aerospace says it had an “anomaly” during a Jan. 22 static-fire test of the first stage of its Alpha rocket under development, an incident that prompted evacuations and road closures in the vicinity in the test site.
Dutch launch broker Innovative Space Logistics and Firefly Aerospace signed a launch services agreement for launch opportunities on multiple Firefly Alpha missions starting this year.
As NASA adds new companies to a commercial lunar landing services program, some existing participants worry its value to them may now be diminished.
A partnership between small launch vehicle company Firefly Aerospace and propulsion developer Aerojet Rocketdyne, highlighted by Firefly’s potential use of Aerojet’s AR1 engine, also has more immediate benefits for the companies.
Noosphere Venture Partners is taking another step toward its goal of creating a vertically integrated space powerhouse.
Firefly Aerospace on Oct. 18 said it is collaborating with Aerojet Rocketdyne to increase the performance of its upcoming Alpha launch vehicle, and is considering Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 engine for a future launch vehicle.
As Rocket Lab prepares the next launch of its Electron rocket, it and other small launch vehicle developers say the U.S. government can be a better, and smarter, customer for their services.
Startups in the burgeoning small launch vehicle market acknowledge that only a handful of vehicles will survive a likely shakeout, driven more by commercial rather than government demand.