Founded in 2017, ABL completed its first development vehicle in 2018. More recently, the company conducted a series of successful tests of the E2 bipropellant rocket engine at Spaceport America in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The investment follows ABL’s recent announcement of an improved 1,200-kilogram payload capacity and $12 million price of RS1.
“The U.S. government is increasingly interested in responsive small launch vehicles and the distinct capabilities they offer,” noted ABL CEO Harry O’Hanley. “Lockheed Martin Space has been providing successful end-to-end solutions to the government for decades and its support offers an excellent opportunity for us to deliver ABL products at scale.”
“It is clear that space has become a contested environment,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space. “We recognize the growing importance of on-demand and flexible launch options as part of a suite of solutions necessary to counter this and other growing challenges.”
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.
More details on the RS1 vehicle architecture, mission capability, and launch operations can be found in ABL’s RS1 Payload User’s Guide, which is available at ablspacesystems.com.