New smallsat rocket company plans first launch in 2018

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The competition heats up: Vector Space Systems now plans its first test flights of its Vector 1 will begin in 2017 with the first orbital flights in 2018.

[Chief executive Jim Cantrell] said he expects to do three or four orbital launches in 2018, increasing to 12 in 2019. “We’re going to call them test launches,” he said of the planned 2018 launches, “but we have a number of people who want to buy those launches already.”

Cantrell said Vector Space Systems has signed up one customer, and is in negotiations with a second customer, both of whom he declined to name. Both customers, he said, are planning satellite constellations. “Between those two, we will have sold close to 30 launches,” he said, with those launches spread out over several years.

Vector 1 is being designed to launch very small satellites weighing generally less than 100 pounds.


  • Alex

    Dawn of small launcher market! Will there ever even a chance for the minimum, or technical smallest launcher, which is able to reach orbit? Charles Pooley called it micro-launcher, but the name nano-launcher fits better. A full functional space launcher with a launch mass smaller as 1000 kg and a payload under 5 kg?

  • Dick Eagleson

    That could certainly happen, Alex. If it does, it will be a pity Charles didn’t live to see it. Vector is only about a factor of five bigger – launch mass of 5 tonnes to put 25 kg into 400 km sun-sync orbit. Launch price $ 2 – 3 million.

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