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Vector: MIA!

Two years ago this week, Vector Launch claimed to have launched an amateur rocket from “Spaceport Camden.” In reality and for some unannounced reason, they launched from the Bayer property --- not the Union Carbide site we’ve paid millions to option. Spaceport Camden is not the Bayer property. From the looks of the launch site, not much infrastructure was needed.

The Camden launch was a FAA-classified amateur rocket, reached only a few thousand feet, and was never publicly observed after a few seconds of flight. Did it crash in Camden County?

Camden recently congratulated Vector for winning an Air Force future launch contract. The contract was awarded even though Vector hasn't demonstrated an orbital rocket. In accepting Camden's kudos, Vector says they "look forward to making our way back to your neck of the woods." That's hard to believe when Vector's head guy had this impression of Spaceport Camden in 2017:

Some advice for Mr. Cantrell: Not much has changed at "Spaceport Camden" since 2017. Unless you can guide your amateur rocket to a landing in a pleasant place, you'd better come to Spaceport Camden prepared for bug bites, gators, snakes and pigs. And bring your waders in case it lands in the marsh.

Since August 3, 2017, Vector has promised a lot, and launched NOTHING from anywhere! Sooner or later, they will have to launch something if for no other reason than to keep investors happy.

You’ll see from the following timeline that while Vector fails to meet its promises with some regularity, their publicity stunts are nothing new. That’s typical of most startups in the commercial space industry. Meanwhile, Camden politicians play along because companies like Vector are all they’ve got.

The Pima County property tax records don’t show Vector Launch as the owner of any property in Pima County. The factory site, announced in 2016, was still a vacant field in May 2019:

>In March 2017, Vector took a rocket mock-up to Cape Canaveral where they announced they would soon launch.

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Vector has launched nothing from Kennedy/Canaveral.

Camden's self-described spaceport subject matter expert, Andrew Nelson, visited Kennedy in 2012 promising 120 jobs and four XCOR rocketplane launches every day. XCOR never got the wings on its rocketplane and collapsed in bankruptcy.

>On Oct. 19, 2017, Vector announced it had an agreement with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to perform three launches from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island over the following two years (2018,2019).

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Vector had better hurry. They’ve launched nothing from Wallops. The second anniversary October is just two months away so they have to squeeze-in three launches pretty fast.

> Vector got the folks at Alaska's Kodiak Pacific Spaceport Complex all excited about the prospects launching orbital rockets from their virtually vacant launch pads.

Maybe, maybe not. In July 2018, Vector carried their “rocket” to Alaska for an “exercise.” Alaska Public Radio reported:

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> Satellite companies are still waiting for their rocket rides to orbit. The Air Force announcement is another in a string of Vector's unfulfilled PR news about satellite launch agreements:

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Alba Orbital has contracted with Vector to launch Alba's handmade pocket cube satellites (from Alaska):

From the above video, it's hard to visualize that Alba Orbital’s pocket satellites can generate much revenue for Vector or Spaceport Camden.

And let’s not forget that the first anniversary of ABL Space’s presence in Camden County is just around the corner in September. They leased a former church basketball gym in 2018 at the closed St. Marys Airport. Some have called it a hanger, but it never handled an aircraft because it didn’t have aircraft hanger doors. Our JDA installed a loading door as part of the deal.

The ABL Space gym/hanger is still vacant and ABL Space still doesn't have a rocket.

Meanwhile, Camden politicians continue to spend our taxes on a spaceport for companies like Vector Launch and ABL Space.

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