Small launch vehicles
The Air Force Space Test Program has awarded contracts to Rocket Lab and Vox Space. More vendors could be selected.
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.
The Air Force is looking to attract startups and commercial businesses to pitch ideas to the military. But Roper acknowledged the Air Force has to do a better job at this.
A small launch vehicle company is increasing its vehicle’s payload capacity and reducing its price as it seeks to find a niche in a crowded market.
A startup that recently hired an experienced Ukrainian engineer is taking a long-term view for development of a small launch vehicle, believing that performance will win out over time.
Vector, one of dozens of ventures developing small launch vehicles to serve perceived high demand for small satellite launches, announced Oct. 19 that it closed a $70 million Series B round to move into full operations.
Faced with growing competition from startups entering the field, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems is looking to reduce costs on its existing Pegasus and Minotaur rockets.
The number of small launch vehicles under development continues to grow despite some high-profile setbacks and uncertainty about the demand for such vehicles.
Emerging private Chinese company Landspace is set to launch its first rocket into orbit in the final quarter of 2018, carrying a small satellite for a state television company.
With about $40 million in hand and an agreement to use a new launch site, British small launch vehicle startup Orbex argues that it’s joined the small group of companies in this sector of the industry that should be taken seriously.
Lockheed VP: “As the UK develops its space industry further, I think you’ll see bigger economics from the mini-satellites and the value they create from data."