Orbital Payload Launch
Japan plans to replace the former M-V launch vehicle, which was active as recently as 2006, with an advanced solid rocket.
The European Space Agency is developing a small launch vehicle, Vega, which will be operated by Arianespace.
India is developing a heavy lift launch vehicle, the GSLV Mk-III, with a test flight planned in 2009 or 2010.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 2008 U.S. Commercial Space Transportation Developments and Concepts: Vehicles, Technologies, and Spaceports report notes that a variety of orbital vehicles, shown in Exhibit 3f, are currently in development. Vehicles are classified by type either as expendable launch vehicles (ELV) or reusable launch vehicles (RLV). Please note that the FAA lists the Falcon 1 as developmental, even though it has been declared operational by its manufacturer. The vehicles in the upper portion of the exhibit have initial launch dates under contract.
“Despite the strong barriers to entry that prevail in the industry, some daring entrepreneurs are nevertheless attempting to challenge incumbents. The entry of low-cost launchers such as the Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) Falcon-1 and Falcon-5, offered at USD 6 million and USD 12 million respectively, may…”
The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) prepare an annual forecast of international demand for commercial launch services. COMSTAC assesses demand for geosynchronous orbit (GEO) launches, and the FAA predicts demand for non-geosynchronous (NGSO) launches.