ABL Space SystemsMaking small satellite launches more flexible, reliable, and affordable than ever. Launch simply.
Low Cost Launch Vehicle
ABL Space Systems is part of a growing sub-sector (private launch vehicle) in the commercial space economy. They are carving out their niche by creating a vertically integrated launch system that can take medium-sized payloads into orbit. Their medium-lift rockets sits between large launch companies like SpaceX, and smaller launchers like Rocket Lab. They provide another option to get satellites into orbit and are preparing for an inaugural launch the first half of 2021.
RS1 Rocket & Medium-Lift
ABL Space Systems is building a medium-lift rocket which puts them in direct competition with similarly categorized companies like Virgin Orbit, Relatively Space, and Firefly Aerospace. ABL's RS1 rocket stand 88 feet tall is capable of launching 1,350 kilograms (nearly 1 1/2 tons) into low earth orbit at a price of $12 million per launch. This puts them squarely in the middle of the commercial launch market, between Rocket Lab's $7 million small electron and SpaceX's heavy Flacon 9 for $62 million. ABL has been able to get to launch within 3 years at a much lower cost than earlier entrants, owing to the fact that they have vertically integrated the manufacturing process (i.e designing 3D printed engines) and taken a bottoms up approach towards building the company.
GSO Deployable Launch System
ABL's GSO deployable launch system enables rapid deployment of rockets. It is essentially the bare bones of a launch system- electrical, fueling, erector, control center, etc- all packed into a few standard-sized shipping containers. This is ideal because they can build all the systems at their facility in Los Angeles and simply ship everything turnkey to launch site. GSO's lightweight, "responsive launching" capabilities is gaining interest from U.S. Military branches like the recently formed Space Force, as they aim to have deployable ready-to-launch systems on base.
Getting to Space Faster & Cheaper
Right now they have several major contracts with the Pentagon, but their customer pipeline is about 60% commercial vs 40% government payloads. Based on their current infrastructure, they can build and ship a launch vehicle about every 30 days, tracking towards 8 or 9 rockets a year. Though spending $100 million has been the benchmark for modern space companies aiming to reach orbit, ABL believes it can achieve that objective for far less. They are set
Future of Space Ventures
While we are far from experts on the commercial space industry, we believe companies like ABL Space Systems represent the first wave of companies that are pioneering the new commercial space industry. Morgan Stanley recently projected that the space industry will reach $1 trillion in revenue by 2040. Getting things into space is the first piece of the puzzle, and launch systems like ABL are proving that it no longer takes billions, or even hundreds of millions to get satellites into orbit. They are showing that not only is it possible at reduced timelines and costs, but there are multiple segments of the market to attack. The satellites they help launch into low orbit will provide better connectivity and mapping of our own planet. We believe this will lead to a better understanding, and hopefully a better stewarding of our resources here on earth, so that we can start to more effectively explore beyond.
More Stories From Within
- El Segundo, CA
- 50 - 150
- Raised $49 million in venture capital
- Contracts from Air Force Research lab & The Space Force
- 105 employees & ~90,000 square feet of office space in El Segundo
- Testing facilities at Edwards Air Force Base & Spaceport America in New Mexico
- NewSpace Economy