A pair of new deals shows that, despite the growing number of small launch vehicles under development, demand from smallsat developers for rideshares on larger vehicles remains high.
Harris Corp.’s first small satellite, a six-unit cubesat, is fully operational, receiving commands and transmitting information to the satellite operations center in Palm Bay, Florida.
A total of 30 small satellites flew as secondary payloads with the Indian Space Research Organisation’s HysIS hyperspectral imaging satellite when it launched Nov. 29 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on the Indian island of Sriharikota at 11:28 p.m. Eastern.
The launch, India’ first in five months, highlighted the United Kingdom’s desire to bolster trade with India as well as India’s desire to further commercialize production of the PLSV, a rocket often used for smallsat missions.
The successful launch of an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Jan. 11 marked not just the return to flight of the rocket but also major achievements for several of the companies with payloads on board the vehicle.
The PSLV lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 10:59 p.m. Eastern and placed into orbit a Cartosat 2 imaging satellite and 30 secondary payloads.
Several startups offering dedicated launches for small satellites say they are on the verge of carrying their first customers, but none so far have progressed beyond test launches.
Citing delays with its original launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is trying to launch an experimental small satellite mission on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from India.
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.
Scheduled lift off is at 11:59 p.m. Eastern carrying a Cartosat-2 remote-sensing satellite. Also on board will be 30 smallsat secondary payloads from 15 countries.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off on schedule with its payload of 104 satellites, all but three of which were cubesats.
Countdown underway for launch of more than 100 satellites on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
The launch of the PSLV-C37 mission is scheduled for 10:58 p.m. Eastern Feb. 14.
TeamIndus, an Indian team competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, announced Dec. 1 it has a launch contract for its lunar lander mission with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
India’s PSLV rocket on Sept. 26 successfully placed the Indian SCATSAT-1 meteorological satellite and seven co-passengers into separate polar low Earth orbits.
Past and future customers of India’s PSLV rocket said they doubt whether India will ever sign the kind of price-commitment agreement with the U.S. government that has been a subject of dispute for a decade.