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posted by martyb on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the whatever-happened-to-Project-HARP? dept.

While SpaceX prepares its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle, newer companies are targeting smaller payloads:

[Aerospace veteran Jim] Cantrell left SpaceX in 2002, seeing the venture as too risky and unlikely to turn a profit. (It succeeded, he said, because Musk could not conceive of failure). However, even as SpaceX has become a dominant player in the large satellite launch industry, the small satellite industry has grown rapidly. The miniaturization of communications and imaging satellites has led to a new generation of rocket companies, such as Firefly Space Systems and Rocket Lab, which have built smaller launchers. Their rockets will generally heft payloads larger than 100kg into Sun-synchronous orbits 500km or higher.

Even with the rise of cubesats and other smaller technologies, payloads have continued to shrink. Over the last decade, Cantrell has watched this trend, seeing an opportunity to jump back into the launch business with a nano-satellite rocket. In late 2015, he called John Garvey, whose company Garvey Spacecraft Corporation had been working on such a rocket, and together they decided to found a new company called Vector. The company is developing a rocket with a reusable first stage that can deliver up to 25kg to a 400km Sun-synchronous orbit. Because of the groundwork already done by Garvey, Cantrell said Vector could begin orbital flights in 2018.

Also at TechCrunch.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:57PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:57PM (#337996)

    However, even as SpaceX has become a dominant player in the large satellite launch industry, the small satellite industry has grown rapidly.

    Really? I thought SpaceX has only done 24-ish real launches [wikipedia.org] in the last 10 years (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX [wikipedia.org])

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:02PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:02PM (#338027)

    There are not a lot of heavy lift launch systems. Being able get a single one on a successful mission makes you a major player.

    Delta IV has only had 31 launches.
    Atlas V 62

    Basically all of the active American made rockets together do not come close to Proton or Soyuz, so you could say that nobody other than Russia is a major player in heavy lift rockets.

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:30PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:30PM (#338040)

      Ariane may object that it's the big dog out there, given its success rate and dual-heavy launches...

      • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:33PM

        by bitstream (6144) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:33PM (#338069) Journal

        Dual-heavy? two rockets strapped together?

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:39PM

          by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:39PM (#338074)

          Two satellites into Geosynchronous orbit in one launch, about 5 metric tons each.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @11:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @11:28PM (#338200)

          I searched the web for dominant, dual-heavy, two rockets strapped together. It came up porn.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28 2016, @12:30AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28 2016, @12:30AM (#338217)

            No cup?

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28 2016, @05:08AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28 2016, @05:08AM (#338287)

            I searched the web. It came up porn.

            FTFY.

      • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:27PM

        by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:27PM (#338125)

        Good point, Ariane 5 has flown more and carries more than Atlas 5.

        --
        "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:47PM (#338045)

      GP here, you gave me a refreshing perspective. Thank you!

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:24PM

        by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:24PM (#338124)

        This [wikipedia.org] is probably my favorite list on the entirety of the internet.

        --
        "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday April 30 2016, @09:29PM

    by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday April 30 2016, @09:29PM (#339593) Journal