Small Launch Vehicles Market Survey 2022

The 2022 edition of the annual industry survey of small launch vehicles was published August 2022 and it’s available for download. A short summary of the paper contents is provided below.

While many, including this author, have publicly stated that the number of small launch vehicles under development is not sustainable, investor money continues to flow into this market segment. New announcements of multimillion funding rounds are occurring several times a year. Even the challenges posed by the worldwide COVID pandemic, have not slowed down this trend. In 2015 we first presented this survey at the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites1, and we identified twenty small launch vehicles under development. By mid-2022 eleven vehicles in this class were operational, 47 were identified under development, and another 47 more were potential new entrants for which there is not enough information. Many of these showed up in this annual survey for the first time in 2021 and 2022. While initially, development was spurred by renewed government investment in space, such as what we see in the U.K., segment growth has continued even when promise of government investment is not present. In this paper we present an overview of the small launch vehicles under development today. When available, we compare their capabilities, stated mission goals, cost and funding sources, and their publicized testing progress. We also review a number of entrants that have dropped out since we first started this report. Since the paper was last presented an additional system has become operational, and several have reached a steady cadence of launches.

SSC22- XI-01 A Small Launch Per Month? – 2022 Edition of the Annual Industry Survey, Carlos Niederstrasser, Northrop Grumman Corporation

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