Virginia’s governor declared that microsatellite delivery company Vector has organized a trio of launches from the state’s spaceport on Wallops Island. while the notice gave no info on the payloads or customers, they’ll be terribly small compared to typical commercial satellites: the corporate’s launch vehicle, the 39-foot Vector-R, will only carry 145 pounds into orbit.
— VECTOR (@vectorspacesys) October 20, 2017
That’s entirely the point. Most microsatellites that weigh a few to just over 100 pounds usually must ride alongside and work around the schedules of big-budget customers putting several-ton payloads into orbit. unlike space X’s 230-foot Falcon nine, which carries up to 50,000 pounds into orbit, Vector’s smaller rocket is likely far more affordable and flexible — like paying for a charter plane which will go to any small airfield instead of buying a seat on a jumbo jet that can only go to major airports.
When last we saw Vector, they’d launched out of Camden, Georgia for a successful delivery to sub-orbital heights. The company, made of industry vets from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing and sea Launch, seems aimed to supply the need for much smaller payloads that those bigger companies do not service well. As for Virginia, this is a win for its middle Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) facility on Wallops Island; Vector has agreed to 3 launches there over the next twenty four months with an option for 5 more.