Loft Orbital, a company preparing a constellation to carry payloads for customers who don’t want to operate their own satellites, has filled up its first satellite and booked a January 2020 launch through Spaceflight Industries.
The trade association that represents small satellite manufacturers is making a fresh push on Capitol Hill to ensure funds are included in the Pentagon’s budget for smallsat technologies.
Swarm Technologies’ self-stated mission is to bring internet access to the whole world, but it’s best known at this point for defying the U.S. Federal Communications Commission by launching four tiny SpaceBee satellites last year without a license.
Harris Corp. and L3 Technologies reported contrasting financial performances for their space activities Jan. 29, with Harris charting growth in classified smallsat programs and L3 recording losses in satellite communications components.
In an interview, Axelspace Chief Business Development Officer Yasunori Yamazaki, said the funding will enable the company of 65 people to continue building a constellation called AxelGlobe, though the company hasn’t decided on a final size for the constellation.
After several launch delays, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 on Monday successfully deployed 64 small satellites into orbit.
Suborbital launch company UP Aerospace is halfway through funding an all-solid propellant rocket called Spyder that it hopes will meet government demand for missions that need to launch on short notice.
The company’s namesake says he now has sufficient capital to see his Queensland, Australia-based venture through to a first launch of an orbital rocket in 2020 but acknowledges he’s still looking for a domestic launch site.
A former vice president of Stratolaunch who previously worked in Congress and the intelligence community has been named to run a smallsat industry group.
GapSat, a company that resells underused satellite capacity, is entering the market with a satellite of its own through the Lockheed Martin-backed Terran Orbital.
More companies and investors are moving to capitalize on the potential of small satellites equipped with synthetic aperture radar, creating what looks likely to become a highly competitive market.
Big missions, in terms of size and cost, will remain a part of NASA’s science portfolio for the indefinite future, but there’s more room at the other end for small but increasingly capable missions.
A proposed standard announced at a conference last week seeks to provide the same launch flexibility for larger smallsats currently enjoyed by cubesats.