The Race to Build a Smaller Rocket

August 19, 2016

There’s a new space race afoot. You may not have heard of it because the competition is so much smaller than the one that took place between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. And this time around, NASA isn’t even a contestant. Today’s space race is playing out among private companies competing to build tiny rockets.

The popularity of small satellite technology has more people looking to shuttle their devices into low Earth orbit. So companies like Vector Space and Rocket Lab are in a hurry to build them a reliable and affordable small rocket—a more convenient alternative to booking space on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 or another large rocket with infrequent missions. But Quartz reporter Tim Fernholz says that a crowded field and technological challenges may mean that many of these rocket makers are still far from the finish line.

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