Idealog - - PROFILE -

De­spite Rock­et­lab’s blue-chip back­ers, the com­mer­cial space race is stacked with well-heeled play­ers, in­clud­ing:

Air­bus – The Euro­pean con­sor­tium is re­spon­si­ble for many satel­lite launches, plus it re­cently re­vealed plans for a re­cov­er­able first-stage con­tain­ing 80% of the rocket’s eco­nomic value: the en­gine, avionics and propul­sion bay;

SpaceX – Founded by Tesla’s Elon Musk, SpaceX’s rock­ets have al­ready docked with the in­ter­na­tional space sta­tion and they’ve put many satel­lites into or­bit. The com­pany claims to be work­ing on a re­cov­er­able rocket too;

Vir­gin Galac­tic – Richard Bran­son’s glam­orous rocket-plane sys­tem (pic­tured) prom­ises to launch small satel­lites into low-Earth or­bit with a fully re­cov­er­able launcher. Beck re­gards Vir­gin Galac­tic as the near­est com­peti­tor.

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