Vector and Astro Digital Join Forces for Dedicated Launch
Nanosatellite launch company takes critical next step with announcement of first dedicated customer mission
14 Dec, 2017, 11:00 ET
TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Vector, a nanosatellite launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced that it will join forces with Astro Digital, a leader in real-time satellite imagery data, to conduct a dedicated launch in 2018 featuring one of Astro Digital's satellites for remote sensing applications. Astro Digital plans to engage Vector to launch at least twelve such satellites as part of a larger constellation, with an option to then continue operations at a pace of two to four dedicated satellite launches per year.
"Vector has taken several critical steps over the last ten months to prove we are the leading nanosatellite launch company, including two successful test launches as well as other tests to demonstrate our technology to the market. We have also had great success building partnerships with other leading companies in the aerospace industry, including our first dedicated launch customer, Astro Digital," said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector. "Astro Digital was looking for a partner who could provide dedicated launch services to ensure their payload enters orbit successfully, and we're looking forward to catering to their unique needs in a way that no other launch provider can."
Astro Digital's Landmapper-HD satellite will catch a dedicated ride on Vector's Vector-R launch vehicle in 2018. Headquartered at NASA Ames Research Park in California, Astro Digital's mission is to monitor the whole Earth, every day, with the highest quality data possible from a constellation of small satellites so companies monitor, measure, and map change.
Astro Digital will have Landmapper satellites in orbit by the end of 2017 and an operational constellation of 30 multi-spectral imaging satellites by the end of 2019 to monitor the globe multiple times per day. With images in both high and moderate definition, Astro Digital's satellites allow for quick analysis and intelligence gathering. Vector will continue to support Astro Digital's goal by providing dedicated launch services for their small satellites at a launch rate and cost that other competitors are unable to match.
"Having the opportunity to put a payload on Vector's recent sub-orbital launch and being able to test our hardware under real-life conditions really solidified our decision to join forces," said Chris Biddy, CEO and co-founder of Astro Digital. "Launches continue to be one of the biggest risk factors for our business, but partnering for a dedicated launch with Vector means we set the orbit and we set the launch date, which effectively lowers our risk and cost."
After securing a $21M Series A round led by Sequoia Capital earlier this year, Vector has accelerated its flight test series and initiated pathfinding operations at several proposed launch sites. In August, the company completed a successful commercial sub-orbital mission at Spaceport Camden in Georgia and more recently announced that it will conduct at least three orbital launches from Virginia Spaceport's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport over the next two years. Vector recently opened its Silicon Valley headquarters in San Jose and will break ground on its launch vehicle manufacturing facility in Pima County, Ariz. next year.
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.vectorspacesystems.com/
About Astro Digital
Astro Digital is enabling big data analytics from space. We monitor Earth from space with our constellation of multi-spectral Landmapper satellites and a dedicated software platform for imagery analysis and distribution. With a team of engineers, developers and data scientists based on NASA's Moffett Field, we're monitoring commercially active land use to model global change and analyze local activity for a variety of business needs. For more information, visit: www.astrodigital.com
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