Vector Space Systems has secured a three-launch agreement with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) in Virginia. The small launch systems provider will utilise MARS to test their Vector-R launch vehicle ahead of the commencement of its commercial offering early next year.
Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Vector will see you soon, next stop orbit! pic.twitter.com/u9iynKPJqW
— VECTOR (@vectorspacesys) October 19, 2017
“This agreement with Virginia Space represents an important milestone for Vector as it’s our first official launch site contract to date,” said General Manager and Senior Vice President for Vector, Shaun Coleman in a Rocket Rundown exclusive. “Virginia Space has extensive experience launching smaller rockets which is beneficial for us given the size and scope of our Vector-R launch vehicle, and that our first commercial flight is quickly approaching.”
The Vector-R launch vehicle is, according to their website, “a small, simple two-stage rocket.” It is capable of launching 66 kg payloads into a variety of different orbits for a projected price tag of $1.5 million. Once fully operational, the small launch systems provider hopes to be safely completing over 100 Vector-R flights a year.
The company is also working on a larger launch vehicle, the Vector-H or Vector Heavy. The Heavy will have the capacity to launch 160 kg payloads into orbit. Test flights of the Vector-H will commence early 2019 with commercial flights commencing later the same year.
Vector’s MARS agreement, announced on October 19 secured Pad oB for three launches. Pad oB is devoted to launching smaller vehicles like the Vector-R and, as a result, is the perfect fit for the small launch systems provider. The agreement also allows Vector the option of conducting an additional five launches from the pad.
In addition to being a great fit for Vector, the MARS agreement has been lauded by the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. “We’re thrilled to welcome Vector as a customer of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. It is a testament to Virginia’s highly skilled workforce and state-of-the-art facilities for this dynamic 21st-century company to choose MARS as a launch site.”
Although an important first step, Coleman admitted that there is still much to be done. “We are in negotiations with various launch sites in the US, as we need to be, in order to support the hundreds of launches from multiple locations to different orbits that we hope to conduct a year.”
Image Credit: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport | Vector Space Systems