Feels like the 90's again.. Connestoga, Roton, Pioneer, Kelly..
Quote from: bad_astra on 10/06/2015 08:02 PMFeels like the 90's again.. Connestoga, Roton, Pioneer, Kelly..Yes, but a lot less extraordinaries here. Most companies seem to go for straightforward no nonsense technical solutions ( except airlaunch but thats my personal opinion ).The key issue is more the viability of the market.
Yep fully aware. The only credible argument for the smallsat launchers is potential responsiveness. A large majority of the candidate payloads are experiments, and experiments like short turnaround times. Iterating a Cubesat sensor or electronics payload can be done in months, not years, with an experienced team, because the basic building blocks are commoditized, pretty modular and readily available. Current launch opportunities however are still decidedly fickle.This rapid turnaround ( or operationally responsive, in defense-speak ) aspect of demand did not exist in 90ies.
Sure, they'd like to have rapid turnaround, but do they have the money to spend on $5-$10 million per dedicated launch to get it a few months earlier versus a fraction of that cost on a shared ride?
Clearly, there is a niche though as quite a few of the entrants in the table are signing up plenty of payloads before they have flown anything
Aside from Virgin Galactic signing up for a share of OneWeb's business (in return for Virgin investing in OneWeb, a start-up with few investors and a large need for capital, so perhaps not a sign of an unbiased customer choice), I'm not aware of very many payloads actually being signed up by any of these new small launch providers.
Quote from: ChrisWilson68 on 10/07/2015 07:39 AMAside from Virgin Galactic signing up for a share of OneWeb's business (in return for Virgin investing in OneWeb, a start-up with few investors and a large need for capital, so perhaps not a sign of an unbiased customer choice), I'm not aware of very many payloads actually being signed up by any of these new small launch providers.Absence of proof is not proof of absence ;) I tried to collect some references up in the table that were discussing launch dates, i've come across various talks, podcast and conference materials where some of the folks involved talk about what they have signed up, too. InterOrbital for instance, in the video linked above, claims to have a suborbital high apogee launch sold out and a second one almost filling up. I dont have the dedication and time to collect references for all these claims tho, the ever shifting first launch date claims are elusive enough.The 2015 SPRSA symposium had a bunch of presentations and talks where backlogs were discussed too, some talks are available through website. The individual NSF threads linked above have some announcements and details, too.
Rocketlab website booking system is already showing a few fully booked flights. There are 27 flights from 2016 to 2019, 16 of these are 71-100% booked. These are ride share flights, there maybe single customer flights eg MoonExpress, which a not listed on website. As for the market demand, I would expect the large venture capital companies to have done their homework before investing 10s millions into likes of RocketLab and Firefly.