Rocket Lab, one of the biggest startups in the NewSpace category of companies providing launch and satellite services, has added satellite manufacturing to the array of services it offers to customers.
On the afternoon of December 3rd, 2018, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from the southern coast of California, lofting the largest haul of individual satellites the vehicle had ever transported. At the time, it seemed like the mission was a slam dunk, with all 64 satellites deploying into space as designed. But nearly four months later, more than a dozen satellites from the launch have yet to be identified in space.
Vice President Pence has declared that America will put humanity back on the moon by 2024 “by any means necessary.” A small company in Durango Colorado is already well on the way to lowering the costs of moonshots by 3D printing thrusters for the first wave of robotic lunar landers.
DARPA wants to be able to launch anywhere, any time and several times in a row. Is that too much to ask? Not for Vector Space, Virgin Orbit and an unnamed startup that just qualified to participate in the agency’s Launch Challenge, which will push their responsive and mobile launch capabilities to the limit.