Several startups offering dedicated launches for small satellites say they are on the verge of carrying their first customers, but none so far have progressed beyond test launches.
Citing delays with its original launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is trying to launch an experimental small satellite mission on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from India.
Despite the ongoing development of a fleet of small launch vehicles, both launch providers and customers continue to see demand for flying small satellites as secondary payloads on larger rockets.
Scheduled lift off is at 11:59 p.m. Eastern carrying a Cartosat-2 remote-sensing satellite. Also on board will be 30 smallsat secondary payloads from 15 countries.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off on schedule with its payload of 104 satellites, all but three of which were cubesats.
Countdown underway for launch of more than 100 satellites on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
The launch of the PSLV-C37 mission is scheduled for 10:58 p.m. Eastern Feb. 14.
TeamIndus, an Indian team competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, announced Dec. 1 it has a launch contract for its lunar lander mission with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
India’s PSLV rocket on Sept. 26 successfully placed the Indian SCATSAT-1 meteorological satellite and seven co-passengers into separate polar low Earth orbits.
Past and future customers of India’s PSLV rocket said they doubt whether India will ever sign the kind of price-commitment agreement with the U.S. government that has been a subject of dispute for a decade.
India’s PSLV rocket on June 22 delivered the Indian Cartosat-2C high-resolution optical Earth observation into a 507-kilometer polar low Earth orbit along with 19 smaller satellites including 13 U.S. commercial spacecraft.
The Canadian government will put a maritime monitoring microsatellite into orbit in June on an Indian rocket, two years after it scuttled an earlier launch because of its sanctions against Russia.
India’s PSLV rocket launched 28 non-Indian satellites between 2013 and 2015, generating 80.6 million euros ($101 million) in commercial launch fees, mainly on the strength of three missions carrying foreign satellites as the main payloads, the Indian prime minister’s office said.
Monday's briefing begins with India setting an end-of-the-decade goal for handing over PSLV operations to a consortium.
PlanetiQ, one of several companies developing constellations of small satellites to collect weather data, announced Dec. 3 that it will launch its first two satellites in late 2016 on a Indian rocket.