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Vector yesterday announced that it plans to complete its first orbital launch from Alaska later this year, placing two commercial cubesats in orbit.
Their original plans had been to do five suborbital test flights, each pushing closer to orbital, with the last possibly reaching orbit. They’ve so far completed two of these five launches. Now it appears they are bypassing the last three test launches and are going straight to orbit on their next launch, and are pitching it as an operational commercial flight. I hope they have their engineering together. I also wonder if it might be wiser to do what Rocket Lab did, which is to tout its first orbital attempts as tests, and only tests, to lower expectations. That made them look good when the second test reached orbit successfully.
The change of plans might also be because Vector is feeling the competition pressure from Rocket Lab and the numerous other smallsat rocket companies that appear to be coming out of the woodwork. They need to get operational to put themselves in the forefront of this new launch industry.
Once again, I hope they have their engineering together. It would be a shame to screw up merely because they pushed things too much, when they right now are ahead of most other smallsat rocket companies.