Space launch startup ‘Vector’ mired with financial issues

Vector Launch Inc. had just made an announcement that it will be indefinitely shutting down major business operations, due to “a major change in financing”. To this end, a number of other different decisions took place, including the untimely layoff of its current CEO, Jim Cantrell.

The official statement for the company’s current status was made just last weekend, when the report of the development of the company’s primary launch vehicle came in. As it stands, its Vector-R is at the moment struggling to achieve completion, and it was detailed that “a core team is evaluating options on completing the development of the company’s Vector-R small launch vehicle”.

The biggest speculated reason for this significant shakeup was the withdrawal of funding for the company, precisely due to the aforementioned stunted development of what was supposed to be its primary medium of business operations.

The company could have perhaps concluded that schedules might have to be crunched substantially, in order to successfully complete its first launch contract.

Before all of Vector’s financial issues came to light, there were already several prior social media posts that hinted at a few rather serious difficulties within the company. There were also reports of offices and branches being closed, as well as employees being laid off, though the circumstances surrounding these corporate decisions were never fully disclosed.

Vector Launch Inc. was founded by Jim Cantrell and John Garvey in 2016, with the aim of incorporating technologies from Garvey Spacecraft Corporation into a space launch business model with more or less the same aims as Rocket Lab. The Vector-R is essentially a smallsat launch vehicle, with a tiny payload of 60 kg, catering mostly on minor research projects and business ventures.

Incidentally, Vector’s very first launch contract was actually awarded by the United States Air Force within the same week of the unfortunate announcement. The timing of this contract’s approval may have affected the company’s current redirected course.

So what will happen now to its business operations exactly? As per the same announcement, John Garvey will be taking the position as the company’s current CEO. The previously announced date of its first suborbital launch this summer would also most likely be postponed at a later date.

If the rumors of financial backers leaving the company are true, then Vector might have to search for new backers from this point on as well.

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