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Arianespace delays the first commercial Vega C launch, TROPICS goes to RocketLab, and more smallsat headlines

Precious Payload’s Weekly Smallsat News:

November 21–27, 2022



Everything you need to know about recent smallsat headlines around the universe. 

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Launch Updates

Congrats to our Launch.ctrl and mission management client 🇦🇺ResearchSat, who performed a tech demo of their platform ‘ADI-Alpha’ aboard the Suborbital Express 3 mission on November 23. Their chamber for space experiments with a biological payload was subjected to 12Gs on launch, six minutes of Zero-G, high radiation on the way up to an altitude of 250 km, and 30Gs on re-entry … and was successfully recovered! [LinkedIn]


🇺🇸Spire Global is going to launch its new-gen 16U satellite bus using 🇩🇪Exolaunch’s EXOpod Nova deployer in 2023. The bus will carry payloads for 🇨🇦NorthStar Earth & Space and 🇨🇦GHGSat. [ParabolicArc


🇺🇸Rocket Lab is ready for its first Electron launch from US soil. The rocket will be launched from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia, between December 7–20. [SmallsatNews]


🇺🇸Rocket Lab will help 🇺🇸NASA complete its TROPICS mission by launching four cubesats aboard Electron boosters no earlier than May 1, 2023. Two satellites of the original constellation of six were destroyed during the unsuccessful launch of Astra’s Rocket 3.3 in June of this year. NASA canceled the launch contract with Astra Space and re-bid the remaining two launches, though it will continue to work with Astra in the future. [ParabolicArc]


🇫🇷 Arianespace is delaying the first commercial flight for Europe’s upgraded Vega C rocket by nearly a month to replace defective equipment. The company aims to launch Pléiades Neo 5 and 6 satellites by Airbus on December 20th. [SpaceNews]



Last week’s news

🇮🇳ISRO launched EO satellite, EOS 06, along with eight other smallsats aboard PSLV from the 🇮🇳Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The smallsats are: 

  1. Astrocast-2 by 🇨🇭Astrocast SA (x4)
  2. INS-2B by 🇧🇹Bhutan 
  3. Anand by 🇮🇳Pixxel
  4. Thybolt 1 & Thybolt 2 by 🇮🇳Dhruva Space [IndiaToday]


🇺🇸SpaceX launched its CS-26 mission to ISS, carrying onboard supplies and the following smallsats as secondary payloads: [ParabolicArc]

  1. Loris by 🇨🇦Dalhousie University
  2. Mario by 🇺🇸University of Michigan
  3. ORCASat by 🇨🇦University of Victoria
  4. petitSat by 🇺🇸NASA’s Goddard Center
  5. SPORT by 🇺🇸NASA’s Marshall Center
  6. TJREVERB by 🇺🇸Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


🇫🇷France, 🇩🇪Germany, and 🇮🇹Italy have signed an agreement to move forward with Europe’s Launchers Exploitation and Accompaniment Programme (LEAP) for public financing of vehicles by June 2024. [Reuters]


🇮🇹D-Orbit signs contracts with🇨🇭SpacePNT for integration of their GNSS receiver prototype into the former’s ION Satellite Carrier for launch in Q2 2023. [SpaceDaily]


🇮🇳Skyroot Aerospace plans to open a new rocket manufacturing and testing facility in 🇮🇳Hyderabad to promote future work. [TelanganaToday]


Check out Precious Payload’s Weekly Smallsat News: November 14–20, 2022