British small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) is closing down a Denver factory in favor of centralizing spacecraft production back in the United Kingdom.
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.
Advocates of small satellites argue that such systems could offer a much-need “layer of resiliency” for national security space applications for as little as one percent of current spending on such programs.
Russian company Glavkosmos is seeking to become a major player in the small satellite launch market, with plans to launch up to 120 satellites as secondary payloads on three Soyuz missions this year.
Small satellite launch company Rocket Lab shipped its first orbital launch vehicle to the company’s Launch Complex 1 facility to kick off pre-flight checkouts ahead of a test campaign consisting of three trial launches.
As companies developing commercial constellations of satellites to provide weather data argue the industry is on the cusp of an information revolution, others cautioned there are still key issues to be addressed regarding the use and access to such data.
NASA is ready to move ahead with plans to purchase Earth science data from commercial smallsat companies as it weighs the balance of large and small satellite systems to meet its research needs.
Spanish rocket startup PLD Space said Jan. 9 that it has raised the money it needs to continue development of its Arion 1 reusable suborbital launch vehicle thanks to a $7.1 million investment round lead by satellite ground systems provider GMV of Madrid, Spain.