|Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder|
The company’s CEO is Jim Cantrell, who co-founded the company with John Garvey, Shaun Coleman, Ken Sunshine, and Eric Besnard. Cantrell had previously helped Elon Musk found SpaceX in 2002, but left shortly afterward, viewing it as unlikely to turn a profit. 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. It has offices in Tucson, Arizona, and an engineering facility in Huntington Beach, California. In July 2016, Vector acquired Garvey Spacecraft, and began designing rockets based on Garvey’s designs. 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. 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. In 2016 York Space Systems signed a $60 million launch deal with Vector, to launch six satellites into orbit.
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.
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. 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.
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] As of 2017[update], the first launch of the Vector-H was expected to occur in 2019.
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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.
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. 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. The first client of Vector was Iceye, a company in Finland.
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.
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