Royal Thai Air Force hires ISIS Space to deliver cubesat in orbit

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Royal Thai Air Force awarded a contract to Innovative Solutions in Space of the Netherlands to build its first Earth observation satellite, ISIS announced Sept. 7.

Under the contract, ISIS will deliver a six-unit cubesat, including payload, ground segment, mission control and launch service. ISIS will be responsible for commissioning the satellite and hand it off to the Royal Thai Air Force in orbit. The contract also includes extensive training. ISIS declined to comment on the value of the award.

“We are delighted to be working with the Royal Thai Air Force and support them in achieving their long-term operational goals, by realizing the first elements in the required space infrastructure,” Abe Bonnema, ISIS marketing director, said in a statement.

ISIS, acting as the prime contractor for the Royal Thai Air Force mission, plans to work closely with partners and subcontractors, including Kubos Corp., a space software company in Denton, Texas, and two South African cubesat companies: SCS Space and CubeSpace.

The Royal Thai Air Force cubesat is scheduled to launch onboard Europe’s light-lift Vega rocket in the third quarter of 2019.

When ISIS, a spinoff of Delft University of Technology, was established in 2006, the company built cubesats and cubesat components. Increasingly, customers are hiring the firm to handle everything from design to launch, and to deliver functioning satellites in orbit.

“Just like in the geostationary satellite market, it becomes normal that the integrator do the commissioning and hand over responsibility only when the satellite is fully working,” Jeroem Rotteveel, ISIS Space chief executive and co-founder, told SpaceNews at the Small Satellite Conference in August. “We want to take it a step further to have cubesats as a service: mission control, licensing, data, warehousing … We’ll implement and manage the infrastructure for the customers so they can focus on selling their products and their customers and not have to worry about the infrastructure.”