Poll

Which dedicated smallsat (nanosat or microsat) launcher will place a paying customer's payload in orbit first?

Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne
9 (13%)
Rocket Lab's Electron
45 (65.2%)
Firefly's Firefly Alpha
12 (17.4%)
Generation Orbit's GO-Launcher 2
0 (0%)
Garvey Space's NLV
0 (0%)
Ventions' SALVO (or other launch vehicles)
0 (0%)
Up Aerospace's Spyder
0 (0%)
Horizon SAS's Black Arrow
0 (0%)
Other (InterOrbital, CubeCab, XCOR Lynx MkIII, etc)
3 (4.3%)

Total Members Voted: 69

Voting closed: 03/09/2016 05:23 AM


Author Topic: Which dedicated nanosat/microsat launcher will place a payload in orbit first?  (Read 10895 times)

Offline jongoff

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I hadn't seen any polls yet for people to guess who they think will be the first company in the current batch of dedicated smallsat launch developers to successful orbit a payload for a paying customer. There are probably previous examples that people might cite (like Falcon 1), but for sake of this discussion we're talking about new launch vehicles that have not yet reached orbit.

You can vote for any of the candidates (or the "Other" option if you think it'll be someone I didn't list), and I'll keep this open for 60 days. I have it set to not show results until people have voted. You can say in your post who you voted for, but please no commenting on the distribution of votes overall (or posting pictures, etc) until after the voting is over.

Also, I would encourage people to vote first before reading everyone else's opinions. You're free to ignore this suggestion, but I'm interested in seeing people's opinions before they've had a chance to read what everyone else has to say. Also, if possible, please post at least a short note on why you picked who you did.

I know a lot of people have opinions here, but would be curious to see what the wisdom of crowds has to say in this case.

Thanks!

~Jon
« Last Edit: 01/09/2016 05:28 AM by jongoff »

Offline jongoff

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I'll go first. While I have friends at many of these companies, at the current moment I think Rocket Labs is going to fly first. Their tech looks solid, they seem to have good financial backing, and are pursuing a relatively straighforward vehicle. Do I think they're overhyping how revolutionary their system is? Yeah. But I think they've got a good lead on the others.

If I were to pick a second place candidate, I'd likely say Virgin Galactic. I didn't put them first because I think that with their change in design and carrier vehicle, they have a lot of work to do. That said, they're fully funded, have some good people on their team, and are far enough into vehicle development that I expect they'll still beat others like Firefly or Generation Orbit.

~Jon

Offline QuantumG

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To agree with RocketLab, they seem to have encountered the hurdle of "we did everything right and we still can't fly?!?" and are pushing on anyway. Of course, if their second launch site goes the way of the first I don't know what they'll do.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline sdsds

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I have only a hunch to support my guess: Firefly will get to orbit first.

I'm thinking Rocket Labs will follow a path like Falcon 1 -- success in the end. Firefly will follow a path like Falcon 9.

Launcher One? A path somehow more like the DARPA hypersonic test vehicle, also called "Falcon" I think.
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Offline WizZifnab

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Is Super Strypi not a valid choice in this race?

Offline jongoff

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Is Super Strypi not a valid choice in this race?

They fit under "Other". I was originally going to list them reflying as a main option, but wasn't sure enough people would vote for that to be worthwhile not just lumping them into the last category.

~Jon

Offline ChrisWilson68

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I chose Firefly.

There isn't a lot of data to go on, so I don't have a strong conviction about this, but they do seem to have a good plan and people with some experience.  And, they seem to have quickly abandoned (for now) the more difficult parts of what they had initially floated as their plan.  They convinced NASA to hand over $5 million, which is another sign they're real.  And they got their first test firing of an engine done impressively quickly for a company starting from zero.

Offline TrevorMonty

I vote Rocket lab because they are most advanced and have launch date (june16) with full manifest.

Of course being a NZ designed and built LV has lot to do with it.

Offline Llian Rhydderch

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I voted Firefly, and only then have looked at the comments to this point, and the results as they are beginning to emerge.

My view was a total seat of the pants, looking at the news from all the companies that have been mentioned (VG, Rocketlab, Firefly); and simply noting that Firefly seem to have the basic funding to go a few years here, like SpaceX in the early days, for both their engine and alpha vehicle, plus electronics and sofware are coming along.  Seems the right company culture to be positioned to succeed.

Now, whether there will be a viable market for these smallsat only launchers, ...    But that is a whole 'nuther forum topic.
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Offline WizZifnab

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Well, I voted 'Other' then for the Super Strypi. 

They attempted in 2015 but failed, and I read they would be trying again, though haven't heard anything about the launch date.  But the high likelihood that most will fail on first try, that seems to put them ahead. Right?

My second choice would be Rocket Labs Electron.  However I'm skeptical of their launch dates.  Where is the June 16th source?  I saw something that said their Nasa test launch was something like 5th for late 2016/early 2017.  Very skeptical of that.  Will the Electron first launch be a fully orbital try?

After that LauncherOne or Firefly.  I'm not that familiar with the others.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Well, I voted 'Other' then for the Super Strypi. 

They attempted in 2015 but failed, and I read they would be trying again, though haven't heard anything about the launch date.  But the high likelihood that most will fail on first try, that seems to put them ahead. Right?

My impression was that after the launch failure the Super Strypi program was dead.  I don't remember the source for that, though.

Offline Vultur

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On very little evidence, I'm saying Firefly because we saw cool engine test pictures on this forum, I know the VG LauncherOne program got hugely re-scoped recently, and I don't know much about the status of most of the others.

Offline CraigLieb

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totally uniformed opinion warning:
 I voted 'other' because it is the only way to register a vote that none of these companies will ever launch a satellite.
 I believe most of these companies will go away before launching anything for a paying customer. 

Space is hard.
Colonize Mars!

Offline hop

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Other: Pegasus  :P

OK, I actually voted Rocket Lab, but I wouldn't be surprised to see VG or Firefly first, or none as CraigLieb suggested. I expect several of these startups will evaporate without flying anything.

Offline Proponent

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I'm being boring and going for Rocket Lab.

Offline jongoff

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Thanks everyone for voting in the poll. It looks like the overall consensus that it'd be RocketLabs, Firefly, or VG was pretty stable for the duration of the poll. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I agree with RL as #1, but with VG as #2 and Firefly as #3.

Thanks!

~Jon

Offline QuantumG

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When you consider that Rocket Lab were relative unknowns this time last year (they announced their series B financing in March, 2015), you've gotta love the pace of this company.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Tonioroffo

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This looks like good news for Rocket Lab?




Offline hop

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We have a winner :D

Offline Lar

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We have a winner :D
Who was it?
(LOL, congrats to RocketLabs...)
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