Space access: New Shepard test date set + Latest from Vector, Relativity Space, Firefly, & RocketStar

Some rocket news:

** Blue Origin announces a New Shepard test flight on Monday, Jan. 21st :

** Vector Launch update – Bob Zimmerman reports on a tour of the Vector rocket factory and an update on the company’s development and test launch plans Making smallsat rockets at Vector | Behind The Black:

Cantrell then outlined their launch schedule beyond this. If all goes well, they hope to make their first launch to orbit in June, followed by launches in August, October (two), and December. When I told him I would not be surprised if this schedule did not happen, he readily agreed. Like Rocket Lab, these first launches are tests, and when you do tests, you must not be surprised if things to go wrong. Like Rocket Lab however Cantrell is confident they will quickly figure out any issues and move forward.

His confidence seems reasonable, based on the significant capital the company has raised, and based on what I saw during his tour….

** Relativity Space awarded lease of a legacy launch facility at Cape Canaveral:


Los Angeles-based Relativity Space, which is working to develop 3D-printed rockets, announced Thursday that it won a competitive bidding process with the United States Air Force to build and operate Launch Complex 16 (LC-16) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company says it will launch its first rocket from the site in 2020.

This agreement makes Relativity only the fourth commercial space station to operate at the iconic launch site, after United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin and SpaceX. Assuming that certain contractual milestones are set, Relativity could potentially maintain exclusive use of the site for 20 years.

“LC-16 is a historic site,” Relativity cofounder and Under 30 alumnus Tim Ellis told Forbes. “A lot of programs went through here. It was initially developed for Titan missile launches, then it was used during the Gemini program for NASA and was also used to test components for the Apollo program. And so there’s a really amazing historical significance.”

** Firefly Aerospace reportedly will build a factory and launch facility at Cape Canaveral: Firefly Aerospace is behind Florida rocket project: sources | Reuters

Firefly Aerospace Inc, a resurgent rocket company founded by a former SpaceX engineer, plans to build a factory and launch site at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Spaceport in a $52 million deal, people familiar with the project said on Wednesday.

** RocketStar suborbital rocket test will launch from a floating platform off Cape Canaveral on Feb. 7th:

** A new New Glenn animation preview video was released this week by Blue and it shows some changes to the design such as a wider fairing:

Debuting from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2021, New Glenn will serve commercial, civil and national security customers from around the world. Featuring a 7 meter fairing with more than 2X the available volume of any rocket flying today and twin BE-3U engines powering the most capable upper stage in the market, New Glenn can launch the full range of satellite payloads. Seven reusable BE-4 engines generating 3.85 million pounds of thrust power the first stage designed to launch 25 times and land safely down range on a moving ship. New Glenn is beginning to take shape at our state-of-the-art rocket factory. Visit us at to learn more.


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