Ten years after then-U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne called for maximizing use of secondary payload adapters to launch small satellites on large rockets, the Air Force, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working together to make that happen.
A proposed standard announced at a conference last week seeks to provide the same launch flexibility for larger smallsats currently enjoyed by cubesats.
Spaceflight announced Aug. 6 that it’s beginning final preparations for a dedicated Falcon 9 launch later this year carrying more than 70 smallsats for a variety of commercial, government and educational customers.
As the number of small satellites seeking launch continues to grow, new opportunities are emerging fly those satellites as secondary payloads on other launches as well as tools to identify those opportunities.
After struggling for years to hitch rides to orbit, companies and organizations developing small satellites now say it’s easier for them to pick and choose from a growing number of launch options.