Small launch vehicles
A green propulsion startup with more than $1 million in sales says it is gaining traction in the smallsat market while funding its own small launch vehicle.
Isar Aerospace, a German startup developing a small launch vehicle, has raised $17 million in a Series A round led by Airbus Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital.
Launcher won its first government funding when the U.S. Air Force awarded the the Brooklyn-based startup $1.5 million to accelerate development and testing of its E-2 rocket engine.
Of the 148 small launch vehicles on a popular industry watch list, about 41 “are likely dead,” Carlos Niederstrasser, a Northrop Grumman master systems engineer, said at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress here.
A three-way launch contest is now down to one unidentified company after two competitors backed out, DARPA announced Oct. 22.
The launch vehicle market is changing rapidly as satellites of various sizes seek transportation to both traditional and nontraditional orbits.
Small launch vehicle company Vector has replaced its founding chief executive and disclosed that financial difficulties have forced the company to suspend its operations.
Spaceflight announced Aug. 6 that it will purchase the first commercial launch a new Indian vehicle scheduled to make its debut later this year.
Virgin Galactic’s merger with a publicly-traded investment company is likely a one-off event based on the company and people involved, and not a sign of more fundamental changes in the industry, investors argue.
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.