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The number of new smallsat rocket startups continues to grow

Capitalism in space: According to a new annual report, the number of new smallsat rocket startups that have been proposed continues to grow, though the number presently in actual development or operation declined slightly in the past year.

That total has grown to 155 vehicles, he said, ranging from 10 vehicles in operation to several dozen that have gone defunct since the survey started in 2015, when about 30 vehicles were included. “I was really expecting to see a slowdown in the number of new launch vehicles that we were seeing coming out of the woodwork in the last few years,” he said during a conference session Aug. 11. “It turns out that slowdown has not happened at all.”

There have been some changes in the industry, though. He found the number of vehicles in active development declined slightly from last year, to 48, with a decrease as well in the number of vehicle concepts on a “watch” list that have not yet entered active development. More than 40 vehicles are now classified as defunct, about 10 more than last year. “This is not surprising given the challenges of getting one of these vehicles fielded,” he said.

The U.S. has the most smallsat startups in development, 22, but China has the most that the report defines as operational, six of ten. This last number should change considerably if the planned launches of six or so American smallsat rocket startups occur as promised in the next six months.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Joe

    I am hoping that some of these startups get going and can provide a means of getting launch costs down. While they have fallen, they are not as low as they need to be. At $1,000 per kilogram, the number of scientific opportunities will balloon beyond all expectations.

  • Jay

    I look forward to the day that individuals can put up a payload for cheap. I just hope that I do not have to go through Lloyd’s of London to insure it!

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