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Two SpaceX founders will build a rocket for microsatellites

Engadget Engadget 27/04/2016 David Lumb
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Two of SpaceX's founders have started another rocket startup, but aren't entering the standard satellite game themselves. Instead Vector Space Systems, which just announced $1 million in angel investment, will build launch vehicles expressly designed to put microsatellites into orbit.

Its first rocket, the Vector, is still in development. When complete, it is projected to carry 5 to 50kg (11 to 110 pounds) of cargo at a potential cost of $2 to $3 million per rocket. This makes it ideal for lighter microsatellites, which range from 20 to 200 pounds. At about $60 million per Falcon 9 launch, the Vector offers a far cheaper solution to deploy microsatellites. Virgin Galactic plans to use its WhiteKnight airplane lifter and deploy from orbit, while Google co-invested in SpaceX for $1 billion to deploy its own.

Vector still has plenty of testing ahead of it, but the company claims that its prototype rockets have flown to heights of 100,000 feet without issue. The plan is to attempt a first demonstration flight of the full rocket this summer, and reach orbital flight by 2018.Vector Space Systems

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