Back in February, in what I thought was a fantastic announcement, ABL upped their payload, dropped their price, and moved to their own engines. And now they’ve got some additional funding via Lockheed Martin for what’s next:
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance ABL's development and test program, including a planned integrated stage test in the second half of 2019. ABL is planning a first launch of RS1 in 2020.
No word on how much Lockheed invested, but they made a similar type of investment in Rocket Lab back in 2015.
I’m particular interested in ABL’s RS1 because of its payload class. Rocket Lab’s Electron is on the smaller end of what seems viable in the short- and medium-term market, and Virgin Orbit is currently having problems getting above Electron’s capability. I’m curious to see how the likes of ABL, Firefly, and Relativity do at 1,000+ kilograms to orbit.