Broadcast 2885 Jim Cantrell, Vector Space Systems

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Jim Cantrell;  Topics: Vector Space Systems, microlaunchers, space policy, risk, Mars, and much more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   

We welcomed Jim Cantrell to the program to discuss his new microlauncher company, Vector Space Systems (  During the first segment of our 98 minute discussion, Mr. Cantrell introduced us to Vector Space Systems and their two rockets, Vector R and Vector H.  He described the characteristics, fuel, propulsion, and capabilities of both rockets, then talked about doing some suborbital launches before going orbital.  He hoped the suborbital launches would be this year with their ability to go full orbital in 2018.  Other topics included a possible XPrize flight and lunar flight.

Additional topics discussed in the first segment including a brief market analysis for the smallsat markets, specifically Earth imaging satellites.  We talked about the possible overload in the VC market for startups per a news article I had recently read on the subject and referenced with Jim.  Jim supported the article but did say there was still lots of demand for the Earth imaging product.  Don't miss all of what our guest said on this subject.  Also discuss in the context of this mini topic was the goal of a lucrative space IPO. 

Listener Penny asked our guest about his concern for regulation of the commercial space industry.  Jim said he was concerned about it and had much to say on the topic.  He pointed out that the auto racing industry was totally self-regulated and was very successful with a good safety record and such.  Again, don't miss our comments on possible commercial space industry regulation issues. 

Rick sent in a note about national security payload considerations.  Jim had lots to say about NRO payloads, launch site issues and concerns.  ITAR was discussed in this context as well.

In segment two, Jim was asked about SLS-Orion and human spaceflight to the Moon, Mars, or both.  This opened up a rather comprehensive discussion on these topics with Jim going over a short history of Earth exploration ventures and projects.  He also ran some numbers regarding the development of Falcon 9 and Dragon as compared to SLS and Orion.  This is a discussion you do not want to miss.

Tim asked our guest about spending money on space infrastructure and if cislunar development should be made part of that effort.  Our guest had much to say about space infrastructure with a focus on repairing and restoring existing dilapidated infrastructure in Florida and elsewhere.  This conversation included the use of robots and drones rather than human spaceflight, sending humans to do the exploration, and space settlement issues.  Later, Jim was asked what HSF depended on.  Our guest gave us a complex answer so don't miss it.

John from Ft. Worth called to talk about the proposed 1% NASA budget cut, plus he made his pitch for cleaning house on SLS-Orion managements and putting people in "to do it right."  Jim was not so hot on that approach and even referred to the program as a Soviet era type of program where the government does all the planning.  You will not want to miss all of what our guest said in response to John regarding SLS-Orion.  This is another don't miss segment!

Before the program ended, our guest was asked about planetary protection and launch license regulations possibly thwarting Elon from going to Mars.  Don't miss what Jim had to say in response to this line of questioning.  Matt from Germany wanted more specific information on the two Vector rocket performance stats.  Jim replied with as much info as he could publicly share given some of the technology was ITAR controlled with his company.  As the program was ending, he said there would soon be a few public announcements on Vector that we should look for as they will be containing exciting company news.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog on TSS website for this program.  You can reach Mr. Cantrell through his website above or me.




small sat launchers, Vector Space Systems

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19 Mar 2017 Jim Cantrell
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