Kepler signs launch agreement with Exolaunch

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SAN FRANCISCO — Kepler Communications announced a launch agreement Aug. 18 with Exolaunch of Germany for two cubesats scheduled for flight in September on a Russian Soyuz rocket rideshare mission.

Under the contract, Exolaunch will provide launch, mission management, integration and deployment services for Kepler’s two six-unit XL cubesats built by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Space Flight Laboratory.

Toronoto-based Kepler plans to send dozens of satellites into a constellation to transfer data traffic to and from ships, oil rigs, farm machinery and industrial equipment. Kepler arranged the Soyuz ride through Innovative Space Logistics, a Dutch launch broker.

The Kepler satellites scheduled for launch in September “will deliver additional capacity for Kepler’s Global Data Service” and serve as technology demonstrators for Kepler’s narrowband connectivity internet-of-things service, according to the Aug. 18 news release. Both satellites are equipped with high-capacity Ku-band communications systems and Kepler’s internet-of-things payload prototype.

After reaching orbit in the Soyuz, Exolaunch plans to release the satellites from its EXOpod cubesat deployer.

“Exolaunch continues to show growth and innovation in launch solutions and is accommodating to the rapid shifts and changes that often accompany our work as a new space company,” Jared Bottoms, Kepler space systems director, said in a statement. “We look forward to a successful partnership with Exolaunch, and a successful deployment of Kepler’s satellites.”

Jeanne Medvedeva, Exolaunch commercial director, said in a statement, “Our team is ready to utilize our launch expertise and deployment solutions to ensure smooth deployment of Kepler’s satellites into orbit.”