Companies offering smallsat launch services argue there is no “magic” price per kilogram that allows them to unlock greater demand, with customers willing to trade off price for responsiveness or other capabilities.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) in his version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 directs the Defense Department to submit a plan for how it will use commercial launch vehicles for so-called tactically responsive missions.
ABL Space Systems Corp, Astra Space and Relativity Space will join a pool of launch providers that are eligible to compete for missions awarded under the U.S. Space Force Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4.
Launch executives said June 2 that demand for satellite launches likely will surge despite assertions to the contrary.
The small launch sector is crowded, but Will Roper believes there is still room in the market for suppliers of rocket engines that innovate fast.
The pair of contracts for Orbex and Skyrora were awarded under Boost!, an ESA program that aims to foster new commercial space transportation services.
A three-stage suborbital sounding rocket on March 3 launched an Air Force experiment from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Tory Bruno warned there are too many venture-funded space launch companies competing for a static number of customers.
The Space Force says it plans to evaluate as many emerging small launch providers as possible.
“Space mobility and logistics” are identified in the new Space Force doctrine as core competencies of the service.
ABL says the funding will accelerate the development of its two-stage launch vehicle and mobile infrastructure.
Mandy Vaughn said notifying companies of contract awards and immediately rescinding them shows “a little bit of discombobulation."
SmallSat Alliance Chairman Chuck Beames: 'I think they messed up.'
Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper said funds that had been allocated for small launch contracts were redirected to small business loans.
The U.S. government “will not award the identified contracts at this time.”
Companies are selected based on data provided to DoD leaders by the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency.
Aevum, Astra, X-Bow, Rocket Lab, Space Vector and VOX Space each will receive contracts to launch two rideshare missions.
In an interview, Swarm chief executive Sara Spangelo said a trifecta of setbacks prevented the company from getting its constellation in orbit in the timeframe envisioned.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck: "The market needs to grow a lot to sustain more than two companies."