Vector Launch

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Vector Launch Inc
HeadquartersTucson, Arizona
Key people
Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder

Vector Launch Inc (formerly Vector Space Systems) is an American space technology company which aims to launch small satellites into orbit with its eponymous family of small launch vehicles.


The company’s CEO is Jim Cantrell,[1] who co-founded the company with John Garvey, Shaun Coleman, Ken Sunshine, and Eric Besnard.[2][3] Cantrell had previously helped Elon Musk found SpaceX in 2002, but left shortly afterward, viewing it as unlikely to turn a profit.[4] Vector Launch, Inc. received $1 million in seed angel funding from entrepreneur Shaun Coleman soon after its launch in 2016 and additionally $21 million from Sequoia Capital, Shasta Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners in June 2017.[3][5][6] It has offices in Tucson, Arizona,[7] and an engineering facility in Huntington Beach, California.[8] In July 2016, Vector acquired Garvey Spacecraft,[9] and began designing rockets based on Garvey’s designs.[1] The company is also investing in software capabilities. It has a platform called Galactic Sky, located in San Jose, California, which makes software-defined satellites to provide start-ups and entrepreneurs with satellite capabilities.[10][11] In 2017, it signed a letter of intent to collaborate with a cryptocurrency company, called Nexus, that is attempting to develop a satellite-supported currency exchange system.[12] In 2016 York Space Systems signed a $60 million launch deal with Vector, to launch six satellites into orbit.[13]

By August 2016, Vector had tested hardware in flight with the launch of its P-20 prototype rocket, as well as atmospheric test flights of the Vector-R from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California and Spaceport Camden in Georgia.[1][2][14][15]

By 2017, Vector has announced that it planned to use the LC-46 launch site in Florida for its Vector-R rocket starting in 2018.[16] Additionally Vector was investigating adding more minimal infrastructure launch pads either located on land in the USA using mobile semi-trailers as tank trucks and a transporter erector launcher (TEL), or to launch the rocket from barges on the ocean.[citation needed]

As of February 2018, the company planned to launch the first orbital flight of the Vector-R in July 2018 from the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska.[needs update][17] As of 2017, the first launch of the Vector-H was expected to occur in 2019.[18]



The company plans to provide launch services with two rockets, the smaller Vector-R, and the larger Vector-H. Both rockets use a single engine for their second stage and a cluster of engines (three in the Vector-R and six in the Vector-H) for their first stage, all of which use LOX and propylene as propellants.[19]

Like other private launch companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, Vector plans to recover the first stages of its rockets for reuse, however their strategy for doing so differs from those of other companies in that they do not plan to use powered rocket landings.[4][5] Other notable design features include a carbon fiber structure, some 3D printed engine parts, minimal infrastructure launch pads, and a fast launch cadence, which the company hopes will eventually reach 100 launches per year.[6][16][20] The first client of Vector was Iceye, a company in Finland.[21]

Galactic Sky[edit]

Vector is also developing a software defined satellite service called Galactic Sky, which is intended to allow customers to quickly test software applications for satellites without having to develop their own hardware.[10][11][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Van Wagenen, Juliet (August 15, 2016). "Vector Space Systems Lays Out Big Plans for Tiny Rockets". Via Satellite. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  2. ^ a b Fernholz, Tim (August 6, 2016). "The next big thing in space business is tiny rockets". Quartz. Archived from the original on 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  3. ^ a b "Vector Space". crunchbase. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  4. ^ a b Berger, Eric (April 26, 2016). "While SpaceX eyes its "BFR," an early employee now pursues an "SFR"". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  5. ^ a b Coldewey, Devin (April 26, 2016). "Vector Space Systems aims to launch satellites by the hundreds". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  6. ^ a b Vance, Ashlee (June 29, 2017). "SpaceX Vet's Startup Readies Small Rockets for Takeoff". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  7. ^ Foust, Jeff (July 22, 2016). "Vector Space Systems plans 2018 first flight of small launch vehicle". Space News.
  8. ^ Masunaga, Samantha (July 22, 2016). "Southern California's aerospace industry, long in decline, begins to stir". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  9. ^ Hazarika, Mrinmoyee (July 21, 2016). "Vector Space Systems completes Garvey Spacecraft acquisition". Aerospace Technology. Archived from the original on 2016-09-21. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  10. ^ a b Hazarika, Mrinmoyee (August 18, 2016). "Vector Space Systems launches software defined satellites business unit". Aerospace Technology. Archived from the original on 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  11. ^ a b "Vector Space launches new software platform to support space entrepreneurs". Space Daily. August 19, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  12. ^ Wichner, David (April 22, 2017). "Tucson Tech: Rocket firm surging ahead on all fronts". Arizona Daily Star. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  13. ^ Avery, Greg (October 17, 2016). "Space startups team up in $60 million launch deal". Denver Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  14. ^ Armstrong, Katie (August 8, 2016). "Vector Space Systems 3D printed a cheap mini rocket". 3D Printing Industry. Archived from the original on 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  15. ^ Grush, Loren (August 3, 2017). "Private spaceflight startup Vector pulls off second test of its micro-rocket". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  16. ^ a b Gebhardt, Chris (May 18, 2017). "Vector Space aims to expand launch ranges with minimal infrastructure pads". Archived from the original on 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  17. ^ Foust, Jeff (February 20, 2018). "Vector planning first orbital launch this summer". Space News.
  18. ^ Leahy, Bart (May 5, 2017). "Vector Successfully Launches First Smallsat Rocket". Spaceflight Insider. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  19. ^ "Vector-H Forecasted Launch Service Guide" (PDF). Vector Space Systems. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-03-27. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  20. ^ Rhian, Jason (March 27, 2017). "Space Florida Vector R-ing in on new launch provider from Cape Canaveral". Spaceflight Insider. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  21. ^ Henry, Caleb (August 4, 2016). "Vector Space Systems Wins 21-Launch Agreement from Iceye". Via Satellite. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  22. ^ Fernholz, Tim (October 26, 2018). "The space industry's new bet: putting an "app store" in orbit". Quartz. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.

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