ABL Space Systems Increases Payload, Cuts Price, Drops Ursa Major

Jeff Foust, for SpaceNews:

ABL Space Systems plans to announce Feb. 1 that it is offering an upgraded version of the RS1 rocket at a price of $12 million a launch, down from an earlier price of $17 million. The vehicle’s performance has been increased from 900 to 1,200 kilograms to low Earth orbit.


Another aspect was a decision to bring engine production in-house. ABL Space Systems originally planned to purchase engines from Ursa Major Technologies, an engine developer, for the RS1. Now, the company is developing its own engines, E1 and E2, for the rocket’s first and second stages, respectively.

Once again, the rocket equivalent of Alan Kay’s theorem: people who are really serious about launch services should make their own engines.

I’m very curious to see where Ursa Major goes from here. Their only customer we know of publicly is Generation Orbit, and I don’t quite know how extensive their plans are currently. Unless either or both of these companies have something they’ve yet to unveil, this might be it for Ursa Major.