Updated List of Smallsat Launch Vehicles

Boeing's ALASA launch system features a F-15E aircraft and an innovative booster. (Credit: Boeing)
Boeing’s ALASA launch system features a F-15E aircraft and an innovative booster. (Credit: Boeing)

Below are two updated tables showing smallsat launchers that are either operational or under development. The launch vehicles are focused on delivering up to 1,000 kg to LEO or SSO.

The bulk of the information comes from a recent survey by Carlos Niederstrasser and Warren Frick of Orbital ATK. They presented their results in a paper titled, “Small Launch Vehicles – A 2015 State of the Industry Survey,” during the Smallsat 2015 conference in Utah last month. Their list included launch vehicles that are commercially available.

I’ve added launchers to the list based on reader comments made to an earlier post. Not all launch vehicles on the list are commercially available.

UPDATE: Added additional table showing operational satellite lauch vehicles.

SMALL SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLES

Organization(s)Launch Vehicle Name
Country of Origin
Current First Launch Date
PerformanceOrbit(s)
Projected Launch Cost
Estimated Cost Per Kg
Tranquility AerospaceDevon 2United Kingdom4 kgLEO
Ventions LLCSALVOUSA20154 kgLEO
CubeCabCubeCabUSAJuly 20175 kg400 km$0.25 M$50 k
Lin IndustrialТаймырRussia9 kgLEO$0.18 M$20 k
Bagaveev CorporationUSA10-12 kgLEO, SSO
XCOR AerospaceLynx Mark IIIUSA2017+15 kg400 km
Garvey Spacecraft CorporationNanosat Launch VehicleUSA20 kg450 km
Generation OrbitGO Launcher 2USAQ4 201630 kg425 km 300$2.5 M$56 k
Interorbital SystemsNEPTUNE N5USAQ4 201540 kg310 km SSO$0.25 M$13 k
Celestia AerospaceSagitarius Space ArrowSpainQ1 20164-16 nanosats600 km$0.24 MNo mass spec
BoeingALASAUSAQ1 201645 kgLEO$1 M$22 k
Open Space OrbitalNeutrino 1Canada50 kgLEO
Iranian Space AgencySafir 2Iran201250 kgLEO
zero2infinityBloostarSpain75 kg600 km SSO
Rocket LabElectronUSA/New Zealand2015100 kg500 km SSO$4.9 M$49 k
SpaceLSPrometheus-1UK100 kgLEO
PLD SpaceArion-2Spain150 kgLEO
Scorpius Space Launch CompanyDemi-SpriteUSA160 kgLEO$3.6 M$23 k
Comisión Nacional de Actividades EspacialesTronador IIArgentina200 kg600 km SSO
CTAVLMBrazil/Germany2018200 kgLEO
Swiss Space SystemsSOARSwitzerland2017250 kgLEO<$10 M$40 k
U. Hawaii, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sandia National LabSuper StrypiUSAOctober 2015250 kg400 km SSO$12 M$48 k
China Aerospace Science and Industry CorporationKuaizhouChina2013300 kgLEO
CTAVLS-1Brazil380 kgLEO
Firefly Space SystemsFirefly αUSA2017200 kg SSO 400 kg LEOLEO/ SSO$8-9 M$20 k
Virgin GalacticLauncherOneUSALate 2017200 kg SSO 400+ kg LEOLEO/ High SSO<$10 M<$20 k
ARCA Space Corp.Haas 2CRomania/USA400 kgLEO
MISHAAL AerospaceM-OVUSA454 kgLEO
Orbital ATKPegasus XLUSA1990468 kg200 km 00
Orbital ATKMinotaur IUSA2000584 kg200 km 28.50
China Academy of Launch Vehicle TechnologyLong March 11China2015350 kg SSO
700 kg LEO
700 km SSO
LEO
Comisión Nacional de Actividades EspacialesTronador IIIArgentina750 kg600 km SSO
Lockheed MartinAthena IcUSAAfter contract award470 kg
760 kg
700 km SSO
500 km
Israel Aerospace IndustriesShavitIsrael 1988350 to 800 kg LEO

LAUNCH METHODS & LOCATIONS

Organization(s)Launch Vehicle Name
Launch Method
Launch Location(s)
Current First Launch Date
Performance Orbit(s)
Projected Launch Cost
Tranquility AerospaceDevon 2Land4 kgLEO
Ventions LLCSALVOAirCCAFS20154 kgLEO
CubeCabCubeCabAirInt’l WaterJuly 20175 kg400 km$0.25 M
Lin IndustrialТаймырLand9 kgLEO$0.18 M
Bagaveev CorporationLand10-12 kgLEO, SSO
XCOR AerospaceLynx Mark IIIAir/ SuborbitalKSC or Mojave2017+15 kg400 km
Garvey Spacecraft CorporationNanosat Launch VehicleLandPSC-Alaska20 kg450 km
Generation OrbitGO Launcher 2AirUSA, PR, UKQ4 201630 kg425 km 300$2.5 M
Interorbital SystemsNEPTUNE N5LandQ4 201540 kg310 km SSO$0.25 M
Celestia AerospaceSagitarius Space ArrowAirInt’l WaterQ1 20164-16 nanosats600 km$0.24 M
BoeingALASAAirGlobalQ1 201645 kgLEO$1 M
Open Space OrbitalNeutrino 1Land50 kgLEO
Iranian Space AgencySafir 2LandIran Space Center201250 kgLEO
zero2infinityBloostarBalloonInt’l Water75 kg600 km SSO
Rocket LabElectronLandBirdling’s Flat, NZ2015100 kg500 km SSO$4.9 M
SpaceLSPrometheus-1Land100 kgLEO
PLD SpaceArion-2Land150 kgLEO
Scorpius Space Launch CompanyDemi-SpriteLand160 kgLEO$3.6 M
Comisión Nacional de Actividades EspacialesTronador IILandPuerto Belgrano Naval Base200 kg600 km SSO
CTAVLMLandAlcantara Launch Center2018200 kg LEO
Swiss Space SystemsSOARAir/ Suborbital2017250 kgLEO<$10 M
U. Hawaii, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sandia National LabSuper StrypiLandPMRF Barking Sands — HawaiiOctober 2015250 kg400 km SSO$12 M
China Aerospace Science and Industry CorporationKuaizhouLandJiuquan Satellite Launch Center2013300 kgLEO
CTAVLS-1Land Alcantara Launch Center380 kgLEO
Firefly Space SystemsFirefly αLandPSC-Alaska preferred2017200 kg SSO 400 kg LEOLEO/ SSO$8-9 M
Virgin GalacticLauncherOneAirInt’l WaterLate 2017200 kg SSO 400+ kg LEOLEO/ High SSO<$10 M
ARCA Space Corp.Haas 2CLand400 kgLEO
MISHAAL AerospaceM-OVLand454 kgLEO
Orbital ATKPegasus XLAirInt’l Water — Multiple locations demonstrated1990468 kg200 km 00
Orbital ATKMinotaur ILandCCAFS, PSC-Alaska, VAFB, WFF2000584 kg200 km 28.50
China Academy of Launch Vehicle TechnologyLong March 11LandJiuquan Satellite Launch Center2015350 kg SSO
700 kg LEO
700 km SSO
LEO
Comisión Nacional de Actividades EspacialesTronador IILandPuerto Belgrano Naval Base750 kg600 km SSO
Lockheed MartinAthena IcLand4 US SpaceportsAfter contract award470 kg
760 kg
700 km SSO
500 km
Israel Aerospace IndustriesShavitLand Palmachim Airbase1988350 to 800 kgLEO

OPERATIONAL SMALL SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLES

Organization(s)Launch Vehicle Name
Country of Origin
First Launch
PerformanceOrbit(s)
Launch Method
Launch Location(s)
Ventions LLCSALVOUSA20154 kgLEOAirCCAFS
Iranian Space AgencySafir 2Iran201250 kgLEOLandIran Space Center
China Aerospace Science and Industry CorporationKuaizhouChina2013300 kgLEOLandJiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Orbital ATKPegasus XLUSA1990468 kg200 km 00AirInt’l Water — Multiple locations demonstrated
Orbital ATKMinotaur IUSA2000584 kg200 km 28.50LandCCAFS, PSC-Alaska, VAFB, WFF
China Academy of Launch Vehicle TechnologyLong March 11China2015350 kg SSO
700 kg LEO
700 km SSO
LEO
LandJiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Israel Aerospace IndustriesShavitIsrael1988350 to 800 kgLEOLandPalmachim Airbase

  • savuporo

    Good updated list, although still missed a few. Some interesting startups here that havent really made the news. Could you add their main web page links to the table too ?

  • TimR

    errrr and who are these others? 🙂

  • Douglas Messier

    specifically what?

    Probably not. The table is too wide as it is unless I removed a column. Maybe next time.

    Doug

  • joe tusgadaro

    Nice to see a few Spanish companies in the list…there are a few more from around Europe too.

  • savuporo

    I put this in the last comments thread too. http://www.tranquilityaerospace.com/

    Technically, now there is MoonSpike as well. There are a few others

  • Aerospike

    You could make the Organization names link to their pages, so you don’t need a wider table.

  • Aerospike

    Impressive list, thank you for the update!

    I’m pretty sure some will never even launch once, but this really shows how much growth is anticipated in the small satellite market.

  • Aerospike

    When the CGI on their pages gets replaced with actual hardware pictures, I might be interested in their progress.

  • savuporo

    Are you referring to Tranquility or Moonspike ? Tranquility has posted a bunch of media on their facebook/twitter feeds, with plenty of early stage hardware. They are definitely much further along than a bunch of others in this list.
    Moonspike has .. well, they did build stuff at CopSub

  • Sam86

    Great table’s update! Unfortunately I didn’t found any new info about VLM/VLS.

    Just a complement, VLM is expected to be launched from Esrange, Sweden, too.

  • Aerospike

    Tranquility. I was only referring to their homepage, I didn’t check social media.

    They have some early prototype/test hardware shots on their page as well, but their planned rockets seem to exist as CGI only so far

    Of course Moonspike doesn’t have real stuff yet either, but one one hand they have just started like days before and b) at least some of them do have done real hardware previously (like at CopSub for example).

  • Vladislaw

    Thanks for the update Doug.
    For me this means the ease of entry is moving in the right direction.

    “In theories of competition in economics, barriers to entry are obstacles that make it difficult to enter a given market.[1] The term can refer to hindrances a firm faces in trying to enter a market or industry—such as government regulation and patents, or a large, established firm taking advantage of economies of scale—or those an individual faces in trying to gain entrance to a profession—such as education or licensing requirements.

    Because barriers to entry protect incumbent firms and restrict competition in a market, they can contribute to distortionary prices. The existence of monopolies or market power is often aided by barriers to entry.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barriers_to_entry
    Once the three legs of the stool are in place, commercial cargo, commercial transportation services to LEO and a commerical destination, I believe it will make it easier for capital to start spiralling outward.

  • Douglas Messier

    Added Tranquility to the table. I’ll wait to see if the crowd decides to fund MoonSpike.

  • savuporo

    This is the real net result if having SpaceX as the lighthouse of success in new private space endeavours. Having increasing demand for Cubesat launches us tremendously good too.
    The worldwide experience base of spaceflight is being rejuvenated and great many things can folliw

  • Saturn13

    NASA has awarded contracts of 4-6 million$ to Virgin, Firfly and Rocket labs. The cost of range operations takes up a lot of money. Super Strypi says they will try to get down to 2m$. I think the RFP said NASA had the launch pad and would do the launch. NASA may be saying just bring us the rocket. They have to launch by ’18. Only 1 launch each.