Virgin Orbit Drops Out of DARPA Launch Challenge

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 performs its first captive carry of LauncherOne. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

Citing more pressing launch commitments, Virgin Orbit has pulled out of the DARPA Launch Challenge. This withdrawal appears to leave the multi-million dollar rapid launch competition with precisely one unidentified competitor.

“We appreciate the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s leadership in constructing the Launch Challenge and we remain very supportive of the underlying goals of the competition,” Virgin Orbit said in a statement posted on Linkedin. “However, after comparing DARPA’s requested timeline with our commitments to our commercial and government customers, we have elected to withdraw from the competition.

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USAF Awards Launch Contract Formerly Held by Vector to Aveum

Aveum rocket launching drome. (Credit: Aveum)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (USAF PR) — The U.S. Air Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) office, part of the Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise, awarded a $4.9 million contract to Aevum, Inc. today for the Agile Small Launch Operational Normalizer (ASLON)-45 space lift mission via RSLP’s Small Rocket Program-Orbital (SRP-O) framework. 

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Loft Orbital Announces inSpace Mission Partner Program to Standardize Access to Space

A Loft Orbital-owned and -operated microsatellite, flying multiple customer payloads onboard as a service. (Credit: Loft Orbital Solutions Inc.)

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 6, 2018 (Loft Orbital Solutions PR) — Loft Orbital Solutions, a provider of Space Infrastructure as a Service, announced this week that it has signed agreements with over 20 companies to join its inSpace Mission Partner Program as inaugural members.

inSpace partners are companies across the space value chain with whom Loft Orbital will collaborate for its end-to-end space mission offering. These partners span Satellite Bus, Launch Services, Ground Segment Services, Payload and Data Analytics. Each partner’s product has been validated for compatibility with Loft Orbital’s technology.

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