DARPA highlights the first firing of the engine that Aerojet is developing for Boeing’s Phantom Express. This is a smallsat launcher with a highly reusable first stage, which is funded under DARPA’s Experimental Spaceplane program (formerly called XS-1). The demonstration phase aims to accomplish ten flights in ten days.
A local news report on the tests – NASA fires up a new rocket engine – WXXV 25:
Relativity Space targets military payloads for the company’s smallsat launch systems: Rocket startup sees big future in military launch – SpaceNews.com
Although it has no signed contracts, Relativity Space has lined up a billion dollars worth of launches in letters of intent and memoranda of understanding with commercial and government customers.
Ellis foresees the U.S. military becoming an important customer to Relativity Space. The Pentagon’s posture that views space as a battlefront favors nimble suppliers that can manufacture products fast, he said. “They need the ability to reconstitute constellations quickly. This is super important based on conversations we’re hearing at the government level.”