Space Tech panel: Fears over launch glut

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Speakers at the opening session on May 22nd at the Space Tech Expo conference in Pasadena warned that most of the current ‘wannabee’ launch ventures would fail, because of lack of demand.

The panellists were not referring to the well-established players such as Arianespace, SpaceX or India’s ISRO, but to newcomers. Stephen Eisele, VP at Virgin Orbit, undoubtedly one of the ‘wannabees’ and backing its LauncherOne jumbo-jet + air-launched rocket for smaller satellites, admitted that there was considerable excitement in the small satellite market, but agreed that demand would not sustain all the entrants and there would be some consolidation.

Kent Lietzau, VP/Strategy and business development at the giant United Launch Alliance (which looks after some of the USA’s heavyweight military and NASA-based satellites on its giant Atlas rockets), said that there was also a glut in his sector, and that he was differentiating by focusing on reliability and delivery scheduling.


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