Vector, a microsatellite launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced it has surpassed two years of collaboration withDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA), part of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.
Since the company's founding in 2016, Vector has conducted a series of increasingly more advanced engine tests, further demonstrating the company's launch vehicle technology. The overall focus of Vector's research has been on maturing a common set of propulsion technologies that can be incorporated into theVector-RandVector-Hlaunch vehicles.
"Through collaborating with DARPA over the last two years, we've developed components that reflect significant reductions in mass and improvements in operating efficiencies," saidJim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector. "These improvements are needed for the Vector-R as we work toward our upcoming orbital launch, and by using 3D printed parts, we're able to move at the speed that is required in the New Space industry."
In addition to static fire tests of Vector's Stage 1 engine with various 3D additively manufactured (AM) injectors (several of which were provided by NASA through a parallel program) and spark igniters, Vector's work with DARPA also spans research and testing to characterize elements of a 3D AM heat exchanger concept. The next major step in the collaboration will be the assembly and integration of a full-scale development stage featuring these LOX/propylene engines, advanced composite propellant tanks and an avionics package, all of which will then be utilized in stage-level vertical static fire testing.
Throughout the rest of the year and in advance of its first orbital launch, Vector will be ramping up tests of these components at sites in the Mojave Desert and outside ofTucson, Ariz., where the company is headquartered.
About Vector Founded by the original founding team of SpaceX, Vector is a disruptive company that connects space startups and innovators with dedicated, affordable and reliable launch services, enabling platforms and vehicles to access space efficiently and in a more optimized way than ever before possible. For more information, visit http://www.vector-launch.com