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3D-printed rocket closer to orbit, space hub in Shanghai, and successful suborbital launch of a new hybrid rocket

Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat Market Update: February 14 – 20

Hey there, space gang!

Let’s get on a journey diving into the latest happenings in the smallsat world with Precious Payload.

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Launch Updates

Congrats to the ISRO and NSIL teams on the first launch in 2022! India’s PSLV XL launched three satellites, Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT), INSAT-2TD, and INSPIRESat-1. See Precious Payload Launch Schedule for more rideshare opportunities from India. 


Interesting story—a giant ABB to supply multispectral satellite imaging for EO constellation through a $30 million contract with Canadian EarthDaily Analytics. In January, EDA partnered with Loft Orbital to build, launch and operate a fleet of 10 EO satellites. A brief background—EarthDaily Analytics was created out of the ashes of UrtheCast, a Vancouver EO company that wasn’t doing so well. 

We’re rooting hard for Firefly Aerospace, which is in trouble with compliance issues but is trying to get through. So let’s hope they get to orbit with their second launch as soon as possible! 

Last week, Firefly Aerospace’s co-founder and main investor, Max Polyakov, gave away 58% of the company shares to co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic for $1 under US pressure

Terran 1 rocket by Relativity Space completes its ATP structural test, proving fit for carrying flight loads. Its maiden flight is planned for late March, and the first contracted launch is expected in June. Find launch opportunities for the entirely 3D-printed rocket here.


A new space systems complex is soon to open up in Littleton, Colorado, by Rocket Lab USA, Inc. to support growing customer demand for flight software, mission simulation, and guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) services. [Source]

Spire Global and Exolaunch sign a multi-contract agreement allowing Spire to gain fast access to space through their launch solutions. [Source]

OQ Technology secures its first patent for a planned satellite constellation to connect IoT devices. [Source]

Terran Orbital engages in a contract with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to build a microsatellite program in support of product demonstration. [Source]

Airbus, Arianespace, Eutelsat, Orange, and Thales Alenia Space, among others, have partnered with the European Union to provide secure connectivity to citizens through the cluster of satellite constellations. [Source]

University of New South Wales and NanoAvionics join forces to build a 6U nanosatellite bus for educational purposes. [Source]

England’s aerospace start-up Prometheus made it to the list of 10 best space startups in 2022 to be showcased at the upcoming Paris Space Week. [Source] Other startups include Aleph Farms, Aurora Propulsion Technologies, Celestial, Ezako, Kayhan Space, Klepsydra, Pale Blue, PlasmaBound, Ride, Stratosyst, and Vyoma. [Source

US smallsat launch provider Vaya Space announces its first successful suborbital launch of a hybrid rocket with environmental concerns. [Source]

Phase Four secures a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, allowing radio-frequency thrusters to operate on low-cost propellants. [Source]

Copernic Space developed an NFT platform for selling space assets such as cargo space, satellite data, etc. [Source]

Belgium-based company Aerospacelab raises 40 million euros in funding that help ramp up satellite production capacity and deploy multiple constellations. [Source]

China’s Shanghai to be the new space hub and aims to build mass production lines for low-cost commercial satellites and VTOL rockets by 2025. [Source]

100 student satellite constellation to be launched by Navars Edutech in association with Skyroot Aerospace in the next five years. [Source]

Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat Market Update: February 7 – 13