Space Angels Network Invests $1.25 Million for Vector-R Rocket’s First Launch in 2017
Vector Space Systems has successfully pooled $1.25 million additional funding for its 2017 small launch vehicle project, Vector-R. According to Space News, Space Angels Network, a team of individual "angel" investors that make initial investments in space companies, provided the seed investment to the Tucson, Arizona-based company.
Vector Space Systems is not the first space company the group has invested in, although it is, in fact, the first launch company. Other space startups supported by the Space Angels Network include Astrobotic Technology, Planetary Resources, and World View Enterprises.
In a statement, Chad Anderson, chief executive of Space Angels Network, said, "We see endless opportunity in Vector's vision to build affordable and reliable launch vehicles for microsatellites and are committed to working with them to make that vision a reality."
Jim Cantrell, chief executive and co-founder of Vector Space, said, "We are honored by the continued support of our existing angel investors and by this new infusion of capital from Space Angels Network. This investment, by experienced space industry investors, helps to further validate the market and demand for a dedicated micro satellite launch vehicle."
The new Space Angel Network funding brings the total amount of raised funds for Vector-R to $2.25 million. It also has Small Business Innovation Research contracts from NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency valued at an additional $2.5 million to work on vehicle technologies.
Cantrell also revealed Vector Space's plans to follow up the Space Angel Network's seed investment with a larger Series A round, which it expects to close in early 2017. While refusing to disclose specific details about the Series A round, a spokesperson for Vector Space hinted that would suffice through the first launch of the Vector-R rocket, planned before the end of 2017.
In an effort to cater to the burgeoning small satellite market that depends on launches as secondary payloads on larger vehicles, Vector-R is specially designed to put payloads weighing up to 60 kilograms into low Earth orbit.
At the Space.com Houston Conference last November 16, Cantrell said, "Rideshare works. It's helped the industry grow, so it's not a bad thing. But what we're starting to see as the numbers of small satellites proliferate is a demand for tailored services."