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.
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.
Arianespace launched a Soyuz rocket May 18 from Europe’s space center in French Guiana, carrying the electrically propelled SES-15 satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.
ASI said it will launch a Cosmo-Skymed radar satellite from French Guiana, co-manifested with ESA's Cheops exoplanet satellite.
European launch provider Arianespace completed its first launch of the year Jan. 27, orbiting the first SmallGEO satellite for Spanish satellite operator Hispasat.
NASA is proposing to purchase, through Boeing, additional Soyuz seats for International Space Station missions to both take advantage of Russian plans to decrease the size of its crew and as insurance against potential additional commercial crew delays.
Roscosmos officials said Sept. 26 they planned to reduce the size of their crew on the International Space Station next year from three to two.
Monday's briefing begins British astronaut Tim Peake returning home after landing in Kazakstan Saturday.
Friday's briefing starts with Russian officials saying they will decide Monday whether to delay the next Soyuz flight to the ISS.