Vector Launch “Undertaking A Pause Of Operations”

vector launch pima county

TUCSON – On Friday, Vector Launch announced the departure of one of its founders, CEO Jim Cantrell, “in response to a significant change in financing.” In the statement posted to its website, Vector said it was “undertaking a pause of operations.”

Devastated employees learned the news when they arrived at work only to find the doors locked:

According to, the move happened when “one of Vector’s largest venture capital backers, Sequoia, withdrew its funding for the company.”

Vector co-founder John Garvey is taking over leadership and a “core team is evaluating options on completing the development of the company’s Vector-R small launch vehicle, while also supporting the Air Force and other government agencies on programs such as the recent ASLON-45 award.”

The company plans to make more information available next week.

Related articles:

CAID Set To Win Big With Vector Approval By Pima County Supervisors

Video Shows World View Explosion Sending Flames Into The Sky

In October 2016, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and his crack public relations crew had pushed out glowing reports about the future of the project. The always Pima County-crony reliable Tucson Sentinel reported that “Vector forecasts a $290 million economic impact over five years as they build its 40-foot-tall rockets, and estimates about 90 indirect jobs will be created as a result of the expansion.”

At the time, Pima County Supervisors Sharon Bronson, Ramon Valadez, Ray Carroll, and Richard Elias approved Huckelberry’s recommendation to enter into negotiations for “a 15- to 25-year lease with either Vector Space Systems, Inc. or a developer who will construct and lease the facility to Vector.”

Vector and World View were used by Sun Corridor, formerly TREO, to promote plans for Pima County’s “Aerospace Research Campus” (ARC).

Related article: World View, beneficiary of $15 million in Arizona taxpayer funds, lays off workers

Pima County taxpayers’ money was used to build World View’s facilities, which included a launch pad for the company’s space tourism balloons. Pima County taxpayers also purchased equipment and furniture for the company. As the ADI reported previously, documents show that taxpayers purchased a tracking antenna for $90,845, a weather station for $148,936, window coverings for $28,015, systems furniture for $190,339, manufacturing specialty furniture for $109,150, and lockers for $10,337.

The company has been trying to regain credibility after one of its balloons exploded in December 2017. A video of the explosion obtained by the Arizona Daily Independent, went viral at the time. In it, viewers can see the hydrogen-filled balloon explode and send flames shooting into the sky. As the ADI reported in December 2017, the explosion rocked buildings up to one mile away.

Pima County spent $10 million in HURF (Highway User Revenue Funds) to widen and expand Aerospace Parkway, as part of the ARC scheme.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the Pima Association of Governments’ regional council approved the $10 million award and the Aerospace Parkway project had been added to PAG’s five-year plan.

The Star reported that “promoting economic development” was a “key rationale for the project, according to Pima County Department of Transportation’s application.”

“Build it and they will come,” then-County Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio told a Star reporter.

“A lot of money was spent on the road in the Research Park for the expected growth and that hasn’t happened; putting taxpayers in the back seat, again. That is not the role of government. Pima County should be focusing on providing good roads, infrastructure, public safety and beautiful parks for our working families rather than engaging in highly speculative real estate deals with taxpayer monies. Just focus on the basics, which we haven’t done for the past 25 years,” said Supervisor Ally Miller.

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  1. “Helping our local businesses grow and prosper is as important to the county’s economic and job growth as attracting new companies in town, if not more so,” said Sharon Bronson, chair of the county Board of Supervisors.

    Got this off an article about the recent development with Vector in another publication. I’m sure it’s from an earlier time but I’ll bet Sharon would have a fun time spinning this today! Also, Vector never started construction on their contracted building and thus have skipped out on their promise to pay the $96,000 a year lease and hire the promised employees at approximately $76,000 a year.

    Had enough of the Pima County BOS yet?? (Ally excluded)

  2. This build it and they will come and venture capital funding philosophy is a prime reason I have filed to run against Supervisor Sharon Bronson in 2020. Government’s 1st responsibility, in my opinion, is public safety then comes maintaining good road,parks and public facilities. I believe this is also the opinion of the voters who in 2015 and 2018 overwhelmingly defeated a total of $1.25 billion in debt spending. I don’t believe Sup. Bronson has ever missed an opportunity to sign off on one of Admin. Huckelberry’s schemes including his annual compensation package purported to be approaching $.5million per year and fat retirement/termination plan.

  3. Thanks ADI for the info. We all knew World View was a loser right off the bat. Merely more $$$ into Mr. Giffords pockets.

    • It’s only a “surprise” to the people who shoved it down the Pima County taxpayers throats. OMG…what will Mark Kelly say? What will actually be a surprise is if the rest of the media honestly reports the current state of affairs, reviews the history (shenanigans), AND all the players!

      Just another crony deal gone bad at taxpayers expense. Time to clean house people!!

      Thanks ADI for reporting this.

  4. another rocket ‘pause of operations ‘ is that of TURKEY which has now accepted A400 Russian antiaircraft rockets will now not get F-35 fighter aircraft – pretty much killing TURKEY as a ‘NATO’ Nation… and the Ottoman empire returns? From Iran to Lebanon all in

  5. and the idea goes ‘pop’ and it was over.. much as the Rosemont is now dead, as is mining in the USA – enjoy the unemployment cus the Tucson economy is on the ropes.. thanks to our wonderful “D” leadership. You get what you vote for..

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