Vector Launch

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Vector Launch Inc
Private
IndustryAerospace
Founded2 March 2016
HeadquartersTucson, Arizona
Key people
John Garvey (CEO), Jim Cantrell (former CEO), Eric Besnard (CTO)[1]
ProductsVector-R,[2] Vector-H[3]
Websitevector-launch.com

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

History[edit]

The company's first CEO was Jim Cantrell,[4] who co-founded the company with John Garvey, Shaun Coleman, Ken Sunshine, and Eric Besnard.[5][6] Cantrell had previously helped Elon Musk found SpaceX in 2002, but left shortly afterward, viewing it as unlikely to turn a profit.[7] 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.[6][8][9] It has offices in Tucson, Arizona,[10] and an engineering facility in Huntington Beach, California.[11] In July 2016, Vector acquired Garvey Spacecraft,[12] and began designing rockets based on Garvey's designs.[4] 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.[13][14] 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.[15] In 2016 York Space Systems signed a $60 million launch deal with Vector, to launch six satellites into orbit.[16]

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.[4][5][17][18]

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.[19] 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][20] As of 2017, the first launch of the Vector-H was expected to occur in 2019.[21][needs update]

On August 7, 2019, the company was awarded its first U.S. Air Force mission, to launch the ASLON-45 spacecraft for $3.4 million.[22]

On August 9, 2019, Cantrell left Vector Launch as the company began widespread layoffs, with John Garvey assuming the role of CEO. The future of the company is currently uncertain as it reportedly faces serious financial troubles.[23]

Services[edit]

Launchers[edit]

The company planned 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.[24]

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.[7][8] 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.[9][19][25] The first client of Vector was Iceye, a company in Finland.[26]

GalacticSky[edit]

Vector developed a software-defined satellite operating system called GalacticSky so that its planned micro-satellites can run different applications. GalacticSky is intended to allow customers to quickly test software applications for satellites without having to develop their own hardware.[13][14][27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Executive Team". Vector Launch. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "Vector-R (Rapid)". Vector Launch. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  3. ^ "Vector-H (Heavy)". Vector Launch. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  4. ^ 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 September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Fernholz, Tim (August 6, 2016). "The next big thing in space business is tiny rockets". Quartz. Archived from the original on September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Vector Space". crunchbase. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  7. ^ 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 May 11, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Coldewey, Devin (April 26, 2016). "Vector Space Systems aims to launch satellites by the hundreds". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Vance, Ashlee (June 29, 2017). "SpaceX Vet's Startup Readies Small Rockets for Takeoff". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on July 9, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Foust, Jeff (July 22, 2016). "Vector Space Systems plans 2018 first flight of small launch vehicle". Space News.
  11. ^ Masunaga, Samantha (July 22, 2016). "Southern California's aerospace industry, long in decline, begins to stir". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Hazarika, Mrinmoyee (July 21, 2016). "Vector Space Systems completes Garvey Spacecraft acquisition". Aerospace Technology. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Hazarika, Mrinmoyee (August 18, 2016). "Vector Space Systems launches software defined satellites business unit". Aerospace Technology. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Vector Space launches new software platform to support space entrepreneurs". Space Daily. August 19, 2016. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Wichner, David (April 22, 2017). "Tucson Tech: Rocket firm surging ahead on all fronts". Arizona Daily Star. Archived from the original on May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  16. ^ Avery, Greg (October 17, 2016). "Space startups team up in $60 million launch deal". Denver Business Journal. Archived from the original on August 9, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  17. ^ Armstrong, Katie (August 8, 2016). "Vector Space Systems 3D printed a cheap mini rocket". 3D Printing Industry. Archived from the original on August 9, 2017. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  18. ^ Grush, Loren (August 3, 2017). "Private spaceflight startup Vector pulls off second test of its micro-rocket". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Gebhardt, Chris (May 18, 2017). "Vector Space aims to expand launch ranges with minimal infrastructure pads". NasaSpaceflight.com. Archived from the original on May 18, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  20. ^ Foust, Jeff (February 20, 2018). "Vector planning first orbital launch this summer". Space News.
  21. ^ Leahy, Bart (May 5, 2017). "Vector Successfully Launches First Smallsat Rocket". Spaceflight Insider. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  22. ^ Erwin, Sandra (August 7, 2019). "Vector Launch awarded its first U.S. Air Force mission". SpaceNews. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  23. ^ Berger, Eric (August 9, 2019). "Jim Cantrell has left Vector, and the company may be in financial trouble". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  24. ^ "Vector-H Forecasted Launch Service Guide" (PDF). Vector Space Systems. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  25. ^ 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 June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  26. ^ Henry, Caleb (August 4, 2016). "Vector Space Systems Wins 21-Launch Agreement from Iceye". Via Satellite. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  27. ^ Fernholz, Tim (October 26, 2018). "The space industry's new bet: putting an "app store" in orbit". Quartz. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.

External links[edit]