ABL Space Systems Gets Contract for Lockheed Shetland Space Center Launch

Lockheed Martin selects ABL Space Systems for their 2022 launch from Shetland Space Center.

This launch is part of a $31 million contract awarded to Lockheed in 2018 by the British government. 

The launch will use ABL’s RS1 rocket as part of the UK Pathfinder mission, and will place a tug developed by Moog in orbit. The tug will then launch 6 “cubesats”, which are cubic satellites designed for space research.

When asked about the choice of ABL over other contractors, Lockheed said that, “ABL’s ability to launch with limited on-site infrastructure played a key role in the decision,” in an interview with Space News.

The RS1 rocket is set to wrap its development sometime in the second quarter of this year, with the first official launch of the RS1 scheduled to take place from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. 

ABL is hopeful that this will be the beginning of regular launches from the Shetland Space Center, and that it would allow the company to “better serve the European satellite market,” according to an ABL spokesperson. 

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