Capitalism in space: The new owners for bankrupt smallsat rocket company Vector have announced that they plan to revive the company.
In their announcement they confirmed that the key problem that killed the original company were engineering issues with its chosen engine design.
One thing they did wrong was the technology the used for their engines. “They had some Achilles’ heels associated with their technical approach. They were trying to use a propellant combination that was untested in the industry,” said Chris Barker, who serves as Vector’s chief rocket scientist. “They were struggling with trying to get performance that they knew they needed for a small launcher to be successful, and ultimately their test program was unsuccessful.”
Vector had been developing engines that used propylene and liquid oxygen propellants. The new Vector plans to instead use engines powered by a more conventional combination of liquid oxygen and refined kerosene, or RP-1, propellants. Barker has been developing such engines since the 1990s for companies such as Space America and Earth to Sky.
The new owners also stated that initially they plan to target the suborbital business field. Their main focus right now is redesigning the Vector-R rocket in conjunction with their engines.
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