Capitalism in space: While there appear to presently be about 100+ new rocket company startups competing to garner market share in the growing satellite launch industry, it appears there is only one startup, Ursa Major Technologies, focused solely on building rocket engines for those rockets.
The company’s business model is based on the idea that while many launch providers make their own propulsion systems, others will choose outsourcing so they don’t have to invest money and time in risky engine development.
It presently has a small engine, dubbed Hadley, that is set to launch on another company’s rocket in ’22, and a larger engine, dubbed Ripley, that is being developed and has a contract for use by the new rocket startup Phantom Space.
In a sense this company is conceivable in competition with Momentus, which builds and sells a space tug, essentially an upper stage engine, for moving smallsats from one orbit to another. Both are aiming for a niche within the new smallsat industry by providing rockets and satellites engines.
If the industry grows as big as hoped, both will likely have plenty of business.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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