Vector Launch, a small launch vehicle firm, announced that it has changed its founding chief executive due to reports that monetary difficulties have forced it to shut its facilities, for the time being. Recently, a spokesperson from Vector told SpaceNews, “Effective from today, Jim Cantrell will no longer work with Vector. The role of CEO is assumed to be taken up by John Garvey.” No explanation for Cantrell’s removal or any additional information regarding the company’s status was announced.
The statement was released following social media posts and industry rumors earlier in the day highlighting the company’s serious issues. According to one employee, the company has closed its three offices in Huntington Beach, California; Tucson, Arizona; and San Jose, California, affecting a minimum of 150 staff members.
In a series of tweets, Madison Telles, Engineer at Vector, stated, “We weren’t really told much.” She added that all the employees were surprised by the news regarding the company’s closure. According to industry sources, Sequoia, one of the biggest venture capital backers of Vector, stopped offering its financial support to the company.
Vector was founded by Garvey and Cantrell in 2016, integrating the technology from Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, which is Garvey’s previous firm. The firm was intended to construct a series of launch vehicles which would be used to the dedicated launch of small satellites. The plans for the introduction of its own software-defined satellites named Galactic Sky were also announced by the company.
On a similar note, the Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program office has offered Vector Launch a contract worth $3.4 Million for taking test satellites to low Earth orbit. The award was announced by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center this week. The latest contract is offered under the SRP-O (Small Rocket Program-Orbital) program, which is operated by the launch enterprise experimental division of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirtland Air Force Base.