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.
German launch services provider Exolaunch announced a memorandum of understanding April 11 with Virgin Orbit to send satellites into space as early as 2020 on LauncherOne dedicated and rideshare missions.
Three launch vehicle developers, one of which is still in stealth mode, have qualified to compete in a DARPA competition in early 2020 to demonstrate responsive launch capabilities.
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.
A startup designing a constellation of orbiting cloud data centers has arranged a $100 million investment from Hughes China Holdings Company Limited (HCH Group) of Hong Kong.
Lord said Virgin Orbit is "an example of the type of companies I think we need to cultivate.”
The next two to three years will be a time of adjustment in the space launch industry, according to panelists at Satellite Innovation 2018 here.
The carrier aircraft for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system has performed a series of test flights in preparation for upcoming flights with the rocket attached.
Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart: If the military wanted to transport cargo across the globe, the technology is available to do that, but a lot of planning and engineering would be required.
Virgin Orbit says an agreement that could lead to LauncherOne missions from an English airport is part of an effort to both better meet the needs of its customers as well as support the U.K. space industry.
Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit announced a set of agreements July 6 with Italian companies and the Italian Space Agency that could lead to suborbital and orbital launches from a proposed Italian spaceport.
Virgin Orbit has received a license from the Federal Aviation Administration for the first launch of its LauncherOne vehicle, which the company hopes to perform later this summer.
Virgin Orbit is planning a key test of its LauncherOne vehicle as soon as next week, a final step before the vehicle’s first launch later this summer.