Small launch vehicles
Lockheed Martin has signed a contract with small launch vehicle developer ABL Space Systems for as many as 58 launches over the next decade, a deal potentially worth several hundred million dollars.
Small launch vehicle company Launcher has moved across the country to California as it takes its next steps in the development of its rocket.
While some see a surge of launch vehicle development efforts as a sign of an “overheated” market, others see those efforts as a sign of shifting demand.
A Maine startup made its first, albeit small, step towards space Jan. 31 with the successful launch of a rocket testing the engine technology it plans to use on future small launch vehicles.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket reached orbit on its second flight Jan. 17, demonstrating the performance of the air-launch system.
Virgin Orbit has rescheduled its second orbital launch attempt for Jan. 10 as another small launch vehicle company, Rocket Lab, announces plans for its first launch of 2021.
A NASA small launch vehicle competition attracted bids from 10 companies, but half of them were effectively disqualified because of deficiencies or other problems.
Small launch vehicle developer Astra Space fell just short of reaching orbit on its second launch attempt Dec. 15, but the company is “beyond ecstatic” with the performance of the rocket.
Rocket Lab successfully launched the first satellite for a Japanese radar imaging startup, concluding a roller-coaster year for the small launch vehicle company.