Rocket Lab, Blue Origin and Relativity Space and battling to be the second place US rocket company after SpaceX.
Blue Origin has yet to launch commercial satellites. The plans is for a launch of a commercial sub-orbital passenger on July 20, 2021. The seat was auctioned for $28,000,000. Jeff Bezos and his brother will also fly on this mission. Blue Origin wants to launch a SpaceX Falcon Heavy class rocket with the New Glenn Rocket. They were planning to launch New Glenn by 2020 but the current schedule is first launch no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2022.
Rocket Labs has had 17 successful orbital launches to deploy 104 satellites. The Electron rocket can place 150-300 kilograms into orbit. Lower payload for a sun synchronous orbit and higher payload for a low earth orbit. Rocket Labs plans a Falcon 9 class rocket with a new Neutron rocket. Rocket Labs plans to launch the Neutron by 2024.
Relativity Space plans to launch its first small rocket, Terran 1, later in 2021 and a Falcon 9 class rocket, Terran R, by 2024.
Both political parties in the US House of Representatives have rejected the $10 billion in funding that would have mostly gone to Blue Origin to make a second human lunar lander.
SOURCES- Wikipedia, Blue Origin, Rocket Labs, Relativity Space, WSJ
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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9 thoughts on “Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, Relativity Space Contend for Second Place”
No, they cant. Any competitor that can evade the requirements for the large footprint SpaceX maintains will do well.
<singing voice>"absolutely nothing, yeah, yeah~"</singing voice>
That is the pathway to solve all engineering problems, dont run out of money before you solve the problem.
I agree; they are completely forgetting about Old Space, which in spite of all their shortcomings are still providing a service today and making money doing it.
That's not a problem, though; we can still talk about for second place "in New Space" — which for now is firmly in the hands of RocketLab, who have actual missions under their belt.
Regarding ULA specifically, I hope they can receive their BE-4s and get Vulcan going in schedule, though I would not hold my breath waiting for it. Unfortunately, it seems like the ideas for actually reusing first stages are stuck in Limbo.
So what are ULA's 140 consecutive successful launches good for???
True. The problem SpaceX competitors will have is the price. The Falcon is flying repeatedly, which gives SpaceX a big price advantage, and once Starship is working, if it comes anywhere remotely near its cost goals, SpaceX can undercut anybody.
There are only two reasons competitors have any hope:
1) Second source requirements.
2) SpaceX is under sustained regulatory and lawfare attack.
I wonder if Bezos paid for the latter?
Blue Origin appears to be facing prolonged issues with their BE-4 engine, which is now impacting ULA Vulcan initial service date now, and probably New Glenn.
Terran-R and Neutron are at the moment paper rockets, but Rocket Labs is experienced enough to probably get there assuming the SPAC distractions don't hobble them. Relativity hasn't even launched Terran-1 yet but they saw the writing on the wall and went to Terran-R, but doing a fully reusable TSTO in that size class isn't easy. Falcon-9 wasn't specifically designed for a recoverable second stage initially which is part of why they gave up on it. Past TSTO recoverable designs include the Kistler K-1 which looked promising before they ran out of money…
First, second or last place, any delivery service that is capable of delivering a package will work if the price is right. Satellite operators dont have some spiritual attachment to any launch provider.
For Space, you need a plan.
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