Raumfahrt - Tucson space company mit Vector-R rocket -Update


Tucson space company to conduct test launch Thursday in Camden County


Vector Space Systems plans a low-altitude test of its Vector-R rocket sometime Thursday at Harriett’s Bluff in Camden County, officials say.


The launch is scheduled for sometime between early morning and mid-afternoon at the site of a former Bayer Crop Sciences facility that the Camden County Commission wants buy and convert to a spaceport, said John Simpson, who is helping the county with publicity on the planned facility and activities there. NASA formerly used the site to test rocket motors.

“It’s not a secret where it’s going to take place,” but the company doesn’t want to give out the scheduled launch time, Simpson said.

“We don’t want people crowding Harriett’s Bluff Road to get a glimpse,” he said. “Another reason for the ambiguity on time is because of weather.”

There is a chance of rain Thursday, which could cause the launch to be delayed, and the wind must be correct not to mention the engineering components of a launch, he said.

“It’s really tough to say at 9:06 a.m. there will be a launch,” he said. “They could be counting down at 8:20 [a.m.] and delay until 2 [p.m.]”

Vector is based in Tucson where it has done all its engine testing including some in the Mojave Desert, he said.

An earlier release said the launch is on private property and has FAA approval.

In March, Vector said the sub-orbital launch is “part of a series of incremental launches which will enable Vector to validate technology, mature launch vehicle design and operations, and evaluate candidate launch sites for the future.”

Simpson said the rocket will reach a low altitude and come down without leaving the property, although he did not say how.

“You can collect all your data without going to the edge of space,” he said.

Vector’s website says its Vector-R rocket can put 66 kilograms into low orbit.

The rocket can launch from its transport vehicle, a truck the length of a “semi trailer,” he said, and Vector Thursday’s launch will also be the end of a road test of sorts.

“Vector is very interested in launching from Spaceport Camden. They will test how long it takes to get from Tucson to Camden County and set up and launch,” Simpson said.

Maj. Larry Bruce of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office said law enforcement will have very little involvement.

“I think we have one checkpoint planned,” to ensure no unauthorized visitors enter the launch site, Bruce said.

Quelle: The Florida Times-Union


Siehe auch:


Camden Spaceport sees 1st launch

Vector Space Systems launches sub-orbital test rocket


WOODBINE, Ga. - Just over four hours after the window opened for the first-ever rocket launch from a remote site in northeast Camden County, the small test rocket lifted off.

Vector Space Systems, a small Arizona-based satellite launch company based out of Tucson, is testing a rocket it hopes will put small satellites into space one day.

WATCH: Vector Space Systems rocket launch

The test launch happened on private property off Harriets Bluff Road in Woodbine, Georgia.

The window for sub-orbital test flight to lift off from near Waverly, Georgia, opened at 8 p.m. Vector quickly tweeted the launch should happen in about 30 minutes. Another tweet at 8:45 said, "Final payload checkouts ... stay tuned."

A 15-minute countdown began about 11:30 p.m., within 1 minute of launch, Vector tweeted, "Launch hold. Auto abort ignition detection failure standby we are in launch hold."

The countdown resumed just after noon, and the rocket launched successfully about 12:15 p.m.

Several people came out to Crooked River State Park hoping to see the launch but not much could be seen from that vantage point, leaving some disappointed.

Vector tweeted ‘’successful launch!”  at 12:25 p.m.



"Building on years of research, Vector is continuing to work towards the next technical milestone in our development plan," Vector's co-founder and chief technology officer, John Garvey, said in a release. "Spaceport Camden's support of Vector's flight test will not only validate the engineering and technology behind our mission, but also propel Vector closer to an orbital capacity."

Even though she couldn’t see it, Sheila Buchanan sad the launch makes her excited and optimistic for Camden County’s future.  

“I have six grandchildren, and I am very hopeful that this will lead to something great for them," Buchanan said.

Camden County is working on licensing its spaceport with the Federal Aviation Administration. It hopes to have an environmental impact statement drafted by the end of this year.

News4Jax was told county administrator and Spaceport Camden project lead Steve Howard could not talk about the launch, but was quoted in the Vector news release.

"The small satellite market is already a $2.2 billion sector of the space economy and expected to grow to $5.3 billion over the next five years," Howard was quoted as saying. 

Earlier this year, Georgia’s legislature passed the Georgia Space Flight Act, which supports development of a commercial spaceport in the state by providing liability protection for spaceport operators, similar to laws in several other states.

Backers of Spaceport Camden argued that the bill was essential to its development.

Some Camden County residents said they think it will be good for the area, but others think it's going to be an issue for taxpayers.

"They've raised our taxes twice in the last two years. They are having to borrow the money just to buy the $5 million down-payment on the property," Steve Weinkle said.

A county spokesman told News4Jax the best thing the county can do is create new opportunities for business and revenue, and that the county is only investing in the cost it takes to get the spaceport licensed. Private companies will be covering their own cost for things like building infrastructure and launch pads.

Winkle, however, thinks the county is biting off more than it can chew.

"Camden County should be spending this money on economic development that is realistic," Weinkle said.

Quelle: News4JAX


Update: 4.08.2017


Tucson-based Vector test launches rocket in Georgia


Tucson-based Vector successfully launched its latest prototype rocket for micro-satellite space launches Thursday, Aug. 3, at Spaceport Camden in Georgia.

Vector’s suborbital flight of a full-scale prototype of the company’s Vector-R launch vehicle was the first customer-funded launch operation for the new space commercial launch industry, the company said.

It also was the first launch out of the historic Spaceport Camden, near the Atlantic coast in the southeastern corner of Georgia, which was originally used by NASA in the 1960s for ground-based testing of large solid rocket motors.


“Our historic launch today is a testament to the hard work of the Vector team, as well as support from NASA and Spaceport Camden,” Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector, said in a news release. “Together, we’re on the fast-track to get to an orbital capability in 2018 and look forward to continuing momentum and unprecedented growth through the course of this year.”

Vector is building a rocket manufacturing plant and offices on Pima County land south of Tucson International Airport. The company already is building rockets at its current site near downtown.

During Thursdays launch, Vector’s rocket was scheduled to fly below 10,000 feet and return under a controlled parachute descent, with the primary aim of testing an engine injector made with 3D “additive manufacturing” and developed through a collaborative research program with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

The flight also was the first time spark-igniter technology developed with University of Alabama-Huntsville and NASA was used to start the booster main engine.

Also aboard were test packages from California-based Astro Digital, which uses small satellites to provide real-time satellite imagery; the Florida-based Center for Applied Space Technology; and NASA’s Ames Research Center.


“This is a significant accomplishment for Vector and for NASA’s initiatives to advance enabling technologies for suborbital and orbital small launch vehicles,” said Ron Young, manager of NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which is working with the industry to help develop the small-payload market.

Vector hopes to build a business launching micro-satellites into orbit, and also plans to develop its own satellite constellation for communications and research.

This most recent test of the Vector-R launch vehicle comes after Vector inked a $21 million Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Shasta Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Vector said the funding will help the company accelerate its flight-test series, develop its first GalacticSky satellites, open a Silicon Valley headquarters for its satellite network and break ground on its rocket factory.

Quelle: T


Rocket launched from the Georgia coast


No witnesses from the general public were allowed, but Vector, a private micro-satellite space launch company, today says it successfully launched a test vehicle – the first use of “Spaceport Camden” on the Georgia coast.


Regulations laid down by the Federal Aviation Administration allowed the low-altitude, single-stage launch, as long as the rocket remained within the confines of the Camden County property.

Below is the video the company just provided us, taken by drones at the site. The rocket was to return to the ground via parachute. Video of the landing was not released, but the chutes did deploy, the company reported:

 Quelle: AJC
Update: 20.11.2017

Tucson Tech: Small-sat launcher Vector lining up launch



A Vector-R prototype rocket was raised in a demonstration at Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 8 on Tuesday.


The Tucson-based microsatellite launch company Vector is looking to team up with a Florida satellite technology company to launch payloads from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The fast-growing company, which plans its first orbital flight in mid-2018, said it’s exploring an arrangement with Harris Corp. to set up commercial launch operations of its Vector-R launch vehicle at Harris Spaceport Systems at Vandenberg, which is near the coast in Santa Barbara County.

Initially, Vector will demonstrate a full-scale prototype of its two-stage Vector-R rocket and its mobile transporter-erector-launcher at Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 8, the company said.


Harris Spaceport Systems, part of the Florida-based multibillion-dollar defense and information technology provider Harris Corp., has operated the launch complex under a federal launch site operator’s license it has had since 1996. The site was used to launch Orbital ATK’s Minotaur rockets in the 2000s.

Other launch sites at Vandenberg have been used to launch Delta and Altas rockets and most recently, commercial space provider SpaceX’s Falcon launch vehicles.

The Harris site is just the latest proposed launch site for Vector, which eventually plans hundreds of small-satellite launches from five sites, said Jim Cantrell, Vector’s CEO and co-founder.

Vector has demonstrated its mobile launch system — which Cantrell says allows a rocket to be set up and launched within three hours — with a technical showcase at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast.

The company conducted a flight with a commercial payload in August from Spaceport Camden in Georgia, and is planning some launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida and possibly Kodiak Island, Alaska, Cantrell said.

“We need as many launch sites as we can possibly get, because we’re looking to launches of these every year,” he said.

The company plans a suborbital test flight in January from a site in the Mojave Desert and remains on track for its first orbital flight using its Vector Block 1 rocket, in a flight sponsored by NASA from the Wallops facility in July 2018, Cantrell said.

Vector plans four orbital launches in 2018, ramping up to 25 in 2019 and 100 in 2019, eventually building to some 400 launches a year, Cantrell said, citing a continuing backlog of small-satellite launches industrywide.

All that potential business has Vector ramping up its rocket-building operations.

Cantrell said the company is opening a second production facility in Tucson soon, and will produce rockets there and at its original site near downtown.

The company now has about 80 employees but expects to have about 200 by mid-2018, Cantrell said, noting that with the company’s engineering team largely in place its major need is for skilled manufacturing workers.


Meanwhile, Vector is finalizing a contractor to build its planned new headquarters and manufacturing plant south of Tucson International Airport, and will keep its other facilities when the airport site opens sometime next year, Cantrell said.

“We’re out raising additional money to accelerate,” he said, noting that he has one potential customer from Denmark who is trying to schedule hundreds of small-sat launches.

While established launch companies like SpaceX launch microsatellites as part of larger payloads, they have long backlogs of small-sat customers, and Vector has little direct competition in its small-launch class so far.

Rocket Lab, a New Zealand-based company, plans to launch two small satellites into orbit in early December, though during a test flight in May its Electron rocket malfunctioned and was destroyed by ground controllers.

“To make more money and to service the sector and become No. 1, we’re going to build them faster and fly them faster, that’s really what we’ve got to do,” said Cantrell, who left SpaceX after helping Elon Musk start the company in 2002.

“We’re ahead of our original schedule, we’re under-budget and we’re going to press on the accelerator to go even faster.”



Update: 20.02.2018


Vector planning first orbital launch this summer


The second Vector-R rocket lifts off on a low-altitude test flight from a site in Camden County, Georgia, Aug. 3. Credit: Vector


TORONTO — Vector, one of a growing number of companies developing small launch vehicles, plans to carry out its first orbital launch this summer from Alaska.

The Tucson, Arizona-based company announced its launch plans in a Feb. 14 press release announcing that a customer had placed a reservation of five launches of the company’s Vector-R small launch vehicle. The statement said only the company’s first orbital launch was planned for July. A company spokesperson told SpaceNews said the launch location and any customers for that mission were still to be determined.

However, in a talk Feb. 15 at the Canadian SmallSat Symposium here, Jim Cantrell, co-founder and chief executive of Vector, disclosed that the inaugural Vector-R orbital launch would take place from “Kodiak,” a reference to the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska, formerly known as the Kodiak Launch Complex on Alaska’s Kodiak Island.

“We’re working on getting a flight ready for quarter three. Officially we’re saying July,” he said. That date, he said, was pending receiving a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, a process he said has been ongoing for two years. “It’s all success-oriented schedules, so things could slip. But we’re not talking about 2019: we’re really going to launch this year to orbit.”

That launch will carry payloads for undisclosed customers. “Our first launch is from Kodiak,” he said. “It will have a small payload and we’ll have a test payload on it as well.”

A flight from Alaska represents a change in plans from what the company announced just a few months earlier. On Oct. 19 the company said it had an agreement with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to perform its three launches from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island over the next two years. At that time Cantrell said the first orbital flights would take place from Wallops.

Vector has kept its options open regarding launch sites. The company’s previous test launch, a very low altitude test flight in August, flew from the future site of Spaceport Camden in Camden County, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast. Local officials are currently working to obtain a spaceport license from the FAA for the planned facility.

Cantrell said the company was also considering launch sites outside the United States, despite the regulatory challenges involved. That includes, he said, potential sites in Canada. “We’re actively talking with our Canadian friends,” he said. “We think to be truly dominating the market, we have to branch out into international channels. Canada would be a really great place.”

Vector is currently building rockets in a facility it is leasing in Tucson, but Cantrell said the company expects to break ground this summer on a 100,000-square-foot factory in the city adjacent to the headquarters of World View, the stratospheric balloon company. “We’re really, truly trying to ramp up our production,” he said. “What I think will differentiate us from everybody else is our ability to scale up our ability to design, manufacture and fly.”

Vector’s latest customer, announced in the Feb. 14 release, is Open Cosmos, a British company that provides low-cost end-to-end cubesat missions. “This agreement secures our ability to provide dedicated, affordable launch options to our customers,” said Rafel Jordà-Siquier, chief executive and founder of Open Cosmos, in the statement. “Vector’s launch cadence and aggressive prices allows us to provide increased affordable schedule certainty to our time-to-market sensitive customers.”

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, although Vector offers the Vector-R rocket, capable of placing 65 kilograms into orbit, for $1.5 million. Jordà-Siquier said in an interview at the conference that the launch reservations announced in the statement will be converted at later dates into full-fledged launch contracts for missions between 2019 and 2023.

Quelle: SN