SAN FRANCISCO – German launch services provider Exolaunch is providing launch services and mission management for eight Spire Global satellites scheduled for liftoff July 5 on a Russian Soyuz rocket, the two companies said June 6.
Spire launched its 100th satellite in April to supply weather data in addition to tracking ships and aircraft. Spire has relied on Exolaunch to arrange launches and oversee integration for dozens of its triple cubesats since the two companies began working together in 2016.
The eight new satellites slated for launch in July are meant to refresh Spire’s constellation.
“EXOLAUNCH is one of our most trusted launch partners and we look forward to continuing this successful relationship,” Jenny Barna, Spire launch director, said in a statement. “They bring extensive launch expertise, best-in-class deployment hardware and a great team supporting every aspect of the launch campaign.”
In addition to arranging launches, Exolaunch has developed its own line of deployers and separation systems for cubesats and microsatellites. Exolaunch began integrating Spire’s eight new cubesats with deployers in late May at Spire’s office in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Now the team is heading to the launch site to get ready for the final integration with the launch vehicle,” Jeanne Medvedeva, Exolaunch launch services commercial director, said by email.
On the upcoming launch, the Soyuz rocket upper stage is expected to drop off satellites in three different sun synchronous orbits, releasing the primary payload, Russia’s Meteor M2 weather satellite, at an altitude of 830 kilometers, microsatellites at 580 kilometers and cubesats including Spire’s Lemurs at 530 kilometers.
“As a data and analytics company that collects unique data from space to solve real problems on Earth, while managing one of the largest satellite constellations in the world, Spire has exceedingly high standards,” Medvedeva said in a statement. “Exolaunch is proud to be a key partner facilitating the ongoing success of the constellation launch.”
Exolaunch is integrating 35 small satellites on the July Soyuz flight. Exolaunch planned to handle even more satellites but some cubesats were not ready. Customers “needed more time to finish their satellites or to coordinate frequencies with the International Telecommunication Union,” Medvedeva said by email. “We were flexible with the back-up launch options.”