Exolaunch signs first launch agreement with SpaceX
SAN FRANCISCO — German launch services provider Exolaunch announced plans April 14 to send multiple small satellites into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission scheduled for December.
Exolaunch has integrated payloads and arranged launches for almost 100 satellites, but this is the company’s first launch services agreement with SpaceX, Exolaunch Commercial Director Jeanne Medvedeva told SpaceNews.
“Participation in SpaceX’s smallsat rideshare program will allow Exolaunch to offer reliable and cost efficient rideshare options out of the United States,” Medvedeva said by email. “Most of our customers have been proactively requesting such opportunities.”
Exolaunch is not yet saying how many microsatellites and cubesats it will send on the SpaceX mission destined for sun-synchronous orbit.
“We’re accommodating several microsatellites below 100 kilograms and a cluster of cubesats,” Medvedeva said. “These are European and U.S. smallsats coming from our existing and new customers.”
Exolaunch is continuing to sign up small satellite customers for the SpaceX rideshare flight.
“Exolaunch needs a simple, reliable and cost-effective rideshare launch solution to best serve their customers,” Tom Ochinero, SpaceX commercial sales vice president, said in a statement. “SpaceX is proud to earn their business, and we look forward to working with them on our first dedicated rideshare mission targeted for later this year.”
On the Falcon 9 flight, Exolaunch plans to demonstrate a new multi-port adapter for cubesats and microsatellites called Exoport. The firm will also employ its CarboNix separation system and Exopod cubesat deployer.
Exolaunch has integrated payloads and arranged rideshare flights for Russian Soyuz missions since 2013. The company also has provided Exopod deployers for cubesats launched on Rocket Lab Electron and Arianespace Soyuz rockets. In February, Exolaunch announced its first agreement to send cubesats into orbit on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.