The world of private spaceflight got an unexpected jolt today, as a new kid on the block announced its arrival while boasting a $1 million angel investment. Vector Space Systems is apparently aiming to be the hot new commodity for those who don’t want to wait in long lines to get into space. Calling itself a “Micro Satellite” launch company, Vector comes to us from many of the same people behind private spaceflight titans SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, among others. Vector claims it will deliver space app developers from the middle-man-ish busywork of “procuring launches and satellites” themselves.
Vector says it’s been discreetly building up to this for several years, but its launch is pretty out-of-the-blue for the rest of us. Private spaceflight has been so dominated by SpaceX and Blue Origin (and Virgin Galactic, kinda) that it’ll be very, very interesting to see how this changes the game. It’s not a direct competitor, like the way SpaceX and Blue Origin draft off each other. Rather, it’s positioning itself to uniquely serve the small-launch market.
“For several years,” the website reads, “Vector has been quietly developing a launch vehicle specifically for Micro Satellites ranging anywhere from 5 to 50 kg in mass. This will be the only launch system dedicated to micro spacecraft and will allow you to launch your satellite when you want and to your choice of orbit. Today, all Micro Satellites launch as Rideshare payloads and cannot choose either the time of launch nor the destination. Worse, Rideshare payloads are often forced to wait 2-3 years for a bus ride to space and have a very limited choice of destinations. Vector will free you, the Space App Developer, to do what you do best …. innovate and build.”
Basically, this means loads and loads of launches, and by parties that might not necessarily have the cache or capital of SpaceX et al. Vector’s angel funding, by the way, comes from Space 2.0 in Silicon Valley. The funding will allow Vector to provide low-cost services (relatively, anyway) and open up the market of space commerce.