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.
The new launch date, announced Dec. 7 by customer Iridium Communications, was driven by the additional two weeks SpaceX ended up needing to launch Spaceflight Industries’ “SmallSat Express” dedicated rideshare mission.
As SpaceX prepares to launch a Falcon 9 carrying dozens of small satellites, some experts are worried that it will be difficult to track and identify the satellites once in orbit.
The organization that helped NASA’s Apollo spacecraft land on the moon a half-century ago is now working with an industry team that includes a Japanese lunar lander company to propose a commercial return to the lunar surface.
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.
Spaceflight Industries has secured rideshare opportunities on two Vega rocket missions for tiny satellites.
Companies that are developing small launch vehicles or who provide rideshare launch services say they expect new Chinese launch vehicles to drive down launch prices, raising concerns among some of unfair competition.
Spaceflight Industries announced March 13 that it has raised $150 million to fund development of the next phase of its BlackSky Earth imaging constellation, with Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio taking minority stakes.
The launch of several cubesats by an American company without authorization from a federal agency has the rest of the industry worried of a potential regulatory and public relations backlash.
Spaceflight Industries said March 6 that the first operational satellite for its BlackSky Earth imaging constellation is now complete and awaiting launch later this year.
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.
Spaceflight, a company that arranges launches for small satellites, announced May 17 is it purchasing a launch from Rocket Lab for payloads seeking access to a less common orbit.
When Hawkeye 360 solicited proposals in 2016 to build its radio-frequency monitoring satellites, the firm found 25 companies capable of meeting its requirements.
Delays in SpaceX’s launch schedule have led an aggregator of secondary payloads to find alternative rides for dozens of satellites it planned to fly on a Falcon 9.