Dozens of sub-orbital flights have been made, and orbital deployment is the next test. If all goes well, Vector hopes to be making its first real flights in 2017.
EDIT: according to TechCrunch, first flights in 2017http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/26/vector-space-systems-aims-to-launch-satellites-by-the-hundreds/QuoteDozens of sub-orbital flights have been made, and orbital deployment is the next test. If all goes well, Vector hopes to be making its first real flights in 2017.
Technically, it's another pressure-fed launcher, but this time there appear to different engine designs for the first and second stages (would think that doesn't help keep costs down). The single thing I find most intriguing is that the fuel is to be an "advanced hydrocarbon." Hopefully, then, we'll get something more interesting than RP-1 or methane. The first the the term "advanced" suggests to me is something synthetic and exotic, like syntin or quadricyclane.
In late 2015, he called John Garvey, whose company Garvey Spacecraft Corporation had been working on such a rocket, and together they decided to found a new company called Vector. The company is developing a rocket with a reusable first stage that can deliver up to 25kg to a 400km Sun-synchronous orbit. Because of the groundwork already done by Garvey, Cantrell said Vector could begin orbital flights in 2018.
I'm not sure exactly how this related to Garvey Space, but it's clearly not just that Garvey himself is involved. Their launcher design is effectively identical to Garvey Space's, they seem to be using the same engine Garvey had developed, and they even use images of Garvey Space vehicles as their page backgrounds.
Founders:Jim Cantrell, CEO - Jim is a well-known space entrepreneur, expert in small spacecraft systems and was on the founding team of SpaceX with Elon Musk, serving as SpaceX's first VP of Business Development. Jim has 30 years experience in commercial space efforts including StratSpace, Skybox Imaging, and the privately developed Lightsail. Early in his career, Jim worked for the French Space Agency CNES in Toulouse, NASA/JPL and has helped grow more than 20 space start-ups to profitability and acquisition through StratSpace where he was the Founder and CEO. Jim has been involved in the corporate development or financing of Silicon Valley's most notable space startups including Skybox, Planet Lab, Rocket Lab, World View, PlanetIQ and Orbital Insight.John Garvey, CTO - John is a 30 year space veteran who was also deeply involved with the founding team of SpaceX. John developed launch vehicles and launch operations for the McDonnell Douglas Delta III and Delta IV, the DCX-A single stage to orbit vehicle, Sea Launch and Micro launch vehicles for Garvey Spacecraft Corporation. John has extensive experience in the development of propulsion systems and launch vehicles and has worked with AFRL, DARPA, NASA and numerous commercial space enterprises such as COSMOS-1 the world's first solar sail.Ken Sunshine, CFO - Ken is senior executive with extensive expertise in strategic planning, financial analysis, raising capital, operations and project management for technology companies, and has served as the CFO of Virgin Galactic and Moon Express as well as SVP Finance of Orbital Sciences. Ken has extensive capital markets experience including IPOs, private placements, asset-backed debt, M&A and joint ventures.Eric Besnard, VP Engineering - Dr. Eric Besnard is a well-known expert in aerospace system design, rocket and spacecraft propulsion, and launch vehicles. He has been involved in liquid propulsion research and launch vehicle technology development funded by NASA, the Air Force, MDA and others. These include the development of innovative launch vehicles and upwards of 30 flight tests, such as the first known aerospike and LOX/methane rocket engine flight tests. He also has extensive expertise in CubeSat, Nanosat and Microsat propulsion technology development. Dr. Besnard is Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and served as Chair of its Liquid Propulsion Technical Committee (LPTC). He has authored numerous scientific papers on launch vehicle and spacecraft propulsion technologies
DESIGN, MANUFACTURING AND TEST OF A PLUG NOZZLE ROCKET ENGINEEric Besnard, Hsun Hu Chen , Tom MuellerMechanical and Aerospace Engineering DepartmentCalifornia State University, Long BeachJohn Garvey - Garvey Spacecraft CorporationHuntington Beach, CA
There's more to the story than simply wandering around Russia. Elon came to me in 2001 wanting to "do something that could demonstrate that humanity can become a multi planetary species". He still uses that phrase. He wanted to do it with his own money and had the idea of launching a colony of mice to Mars. He contacted me specifically because I was a well known Soviet expert, have experience launching satellites from Russia, I speak Russian, I know the Russian industry from my work on the French/Soviet Mars 94 program, and I spent a sum total of two years there in the 1990's working DoD programs. He knew that he could only afford a Russian rocket with his budget and this is where he started. Some shades of the motivations to start SpaceX to come later. For Elon, I was the best starting point because of my experience and knowledge of the Russian aerospace industry and Mars landers. I gathered a group of people in the US to study this mission and we eventually came up with the idea to land a plant growth chamber on Mars to show that life could thrive on Mars. I led the study supported by John Garvey, Chris Thompson, Bob Zubrin, Jim French, Mike Griffin, Tomas Svitek, Tom Mueller, Taber MacCallum, Jane Poynter and Dave Bearden. It was called Mars Oasis. We identified the Dnepr launch vehicle as the best choice for the mission to be launched in 2006 if I remember correctly. We went to Russia three times: once to talk to Lavotchkin about building our lander (thought to be cheaper than doing it in the US), another time to talk to a number of launch vehicle providers and the last time to actually purchase two Dnepr launches. When they refused to negotiate, Elon decided to build the rocket himself - the modern Falcon 9.Adeo had no particular experience with aerospace or engineering but was a trusted friend and advisor to Elon. As for me, I have several degrees in mechanical engineering and about 25 years of experience in rocket design, propulsion, satellite design and planetary landers.I sometimes wonder about how many people at the time thought of this as anything more than one more interesting project to come along that would otherwise dwindle and die. For my part, I never imagined that it would lead to where things are today. The Russians really sealed their own fate in the future launch market by creating the motivation for another competitor. The rest of us knew that Elon was a serious guy but we all underestimated his resolve to stick to his vision and actually make it happen. Adeo thought Elon was crazy for spending his money on such 'obviously foolish things' and I doubt he foresaw this outcome either. Life is interesting and this is an excellent example of the idea that life is a journey rather than a destination !
Their proposed propulsion is an obvious evolution from what Garvey planned for the nanosat launch vehicle, and the launch site also happening to be Kodiak.
...Jim Cantrell, Vector's CEO and SpaceX's first vice president of business development......The design for the engines and prototype came from fellow SpaceX founder John Garvey...
Two of SpaceX's founders are working on a new rocket to launch micro-satellites | The VergeQuote...Jim Cantrell, Vector's CEO and SpaceX's first vice president of business development......The design for the engines and prototype came from fellow SpaceX founder John Garvey...This is actually a good measure of success, when former employees leave a maturing company to create a competitor, or a company in a similar space.And since I support any company that is working to lower the cost to access space, and that appears to be their focus, then I wish them lots of luck and as much success as they can generate!
The initial motivation for developing these vehicles arose in 1996 when an effort was made by some of the DC-XA flight team personnel to get McDonnell Douglas' DC-XA project management to sponsor a flight demonstration of such a composite LOX tank. The intent was to build upon the DC-XA's pioneering flights with the first-ever LH2 composite tank and to prepare for future vehicles like the upcoming X-33. Management's advice was that "...if you think it is such a good idea, then go do it yourself ...
pretty sure this is being misreported. Garvey was never at SpaceX.
Yeah, John's company did the feasibility study for SpaceX when he was trying to decide if he could make a go in the launcher business.
Musk's "Mars Oasis" project is a small robotic lander intended primarily as a mini-greenhouse, growing samples of food crops in an enclosed chamber filled with treated Martian regolith (soil), to test the feasibility of humans living off the land. Other experiments may include test units for the production of oxygen and rocket fuel from the Martian atmosphere, and radiation sensors. In a radical departure from the missions scheduled by NASA, each experiment would focus on developing data critical to human habitation, rather than on pure planetary science. While the project's centerpiece is essentially the project long advocated by NASA planetary scientist Chris McKay, Musk stated that he had only met McKay in passing and had not discussed the project with him.Musk's immediate efforts are focused closely on the completion of a feasibility study by a Russian/American team including the Russian Babakin design bureau, currently the contractor for the Planetary Society's solar sail test mission, and John Garvey, formerly of McDonnell Douglas's DC-X program and founder of Garvey Spacecraft Corporation. The study, under way for four months, is driven as much by cost as by technical feasibility, as Musk would have the mission cost under $20 million. He claims to have lined up financial support from "other technology entrepreneurs disheartened by NASA's efforts over the past thirty years." He plans to announce the slate of project financiers within a few months of the end of the study.