TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Tucson company that builds rockets is preparing to fly still higher.
Vector Space Systems is building bigger facilities for its program of small rockets for the new generation of smaller satellites.
Vector is building a new rocket factory and pushing towards sending rockets higher than it ever has before.
Vector's had a series of successful launches and engine tests. In its push to fill a growing market for small rockets to launch the new small, but still very capable satellites.
Vector VP Alex Rodriguez says, “Satellites are going from a garbage truck-sized piece of equipment in outer space to a loaf of bread."
The new factory Vector's starting to build near Tucson International should help it meet the market for small satellite launches with enough rockets for a hundred launches a year--- at bargain rates for the space business.
On the floor of a temporary factory there’s a Vector R, that's R for rapid. It's about 45 feet long altogether and it's designed to boost a small satellite into low Earth orbit. Everything's all about what happens up here at nosecone. The rocket is able to lift into low Earth orbit a small satellite that's about 60 kilograms. And it costs about 1.5 million dollars to do it. If you tried to lift that much satellite onto a large rocket where you shared space on a much larger rocket it might cost you about 60 million dollars.
Besides space to assemble the rockets, the factory will be home base for engineers and a variety of other workers--and that means job opportunities.
Alex Rodriguez says, "We will have over 200 employees working in high impact roles in engineering, in manufacturing, in high technical roles that provide technical support and across the board."
And plans call for the new factory to open in less than a year and a half.