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.
Firefly Aerospace announced agreements with state and federal agencies Feb. 22 to build a new factory for producing and launching its rockets from Florida’s Space Coast.
Developers of small launch vehicles, who have promoted their vehicles as providing dedicated access to space for small satellites, say they’re also open to flying rideshare missions as they face competition from larger rockets.
Noosphere Ventures, two years after providing a lifeline investment in small launcher company Firefly, is gearing up to make another space investment, this time in the small-satellite manufacturing sector.
NASA has picked nine companies, ranging from startups to aerospace giants, to be eligible for future contracts to deliver payloads to the surface of the moon, but with no guarantee of business for any of them.
Small launch vehicle company Firefly Aerospace announced Oct. 10 it’s partnering with smallsat developer York Space Systems to offer customers a combined package of satellite and launch services.
Firefly Aerospace, a small launch vehicle developer, has won approval from the U.S. Air Force to take over a launch pad at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base used by the soon-to-retire Delta 2.
Companies that are developing small launch vehicles or who provide rideshare launch services say they expect new Chinese launch vehicles to drive down launch prices, raising concerns among some of unfair competition.