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Dawn Aerospace certifies its spaceplane’s flight, Arkisys receives a $1.6M contract, ZFT starts working with HOSTmi by Precious Payload

Precious Weekly: March 20–26, 2023


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Credit: Dawn Aerospace


Launch Updates

The first 🇵🇹Portuguese cubesat, ISTSAT—developed by the students at 🇵🇹Instituto Superior Técnico—will monitor aircrafts in remote areas and is scheduled for launch aboard Ariane 6 in Q4 2023. [Publico] [🚀More on launch info]


🇮🇳ISRO successfully launched its LVM3 from 🇮🇳Satish Dhawan Space Centre on March 25, carrying onboard 36 🇬🇧OneWeb broadband satellites. [Space.com] [🚀More on launch info]


🇺🇸Rocket Lab successfully launched its “Beat Goes On” mission, with two Gen-2 🇺🇸BlackSky satellites via 🇺🇸Spaceflight, from 🇳🇿New Zealand. [SpaceNews] [🚀More on launch info]


🇺🇸Relativity’s Terran 1 lifted off from 🇺🇸Florida’s Launch Complex, but the upper stage failed to reach orbit. [SpaceflightNow] [🚀More on launch info]



Aerostructures manufacturer 🇺🇸Spirit AeroSystems to partner with 🇬🇧Astraius to secure future satellite launch capabilities from 🇬🇧Prestwick Spaceport. [SmallsatNews]


🇩🇪Zentrum für Telematik GmbH (Center for Telematics), one of the European pioneers in the field of small satellite formations, has selected 🇩🇪HOSTmi GmbH—a Precious Payload company—to collaborate on an Earth-observation mission that involves the deployment of five 6U CubeSats flying in formation. [LinkedIn]


🇺🇸SpaceX has set up a 🇰🇷South Korean subsidiary, Starlink Korea LLC, to launch satellite internet services. The company seeks to launch its popular Starlink service in the country in Q2 2023. [KoreaHearld]


🇰🇷Boryung and 🇺🇸Axiom Space to launch a joint venture to focus on drug R&D and human survival in space. [SpaceRadar]


A 🇦🇪UAE/🇨🇳China agreement for launching the Rashid 2 rover on the latter’s Chang’e-7 lunar mission has fallen short, due to the U.S. export-control rules against China’s access to sensitive American-made components. Rashid 1 was launched last year, and is to be deposited on the surface of the Moon by the Japanese lunar lander Hakuto-R. [SpaceNews]


🇺🇸Rocket Lab’s Neutron rocket set its launch prices at $50M for a 13,000 kg lift, in direct competition with 🇺🇸SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Neutron’s maiden launch is targeted for 2024. [CNBC] [🚀More on launch info]


🇺🇸Rocket Lab has also landed a contract from an undisclosed mega-constellation customer to manufacture two or three thousand reaction wheels per year. [TechCrunch]


🇦🇪Techstars held a demo day for the first cohort of the 🇸🇦Saudi Space Techstars Accelerator program. [LinkedIn] [List of the startups


Progress updates

🇳🇿Dawn Aerospace received New Zealand’s CAA certification for the campaign of its Mk-II Aurora spaceplane. The mission is to fly to space and back twice in one day to demonstrate reusability. The flights are set to start within the next month. [SatNews]


🇩🇪Isar Aerospace ran 719 test sequences over the last 12 months on its Aquila engine, for use aboard its Spectrum rocket planned to launch this year. [LinkedIn] [🚀More on launch info]


🇺🇸Firefly Aerospace completed the risk-reduction testing for its Miranda engine components—for use in 🇺🇸Northrop’s Antares 330 rocket—for launch in Q2 2025. [FireflySpace] [🚀More on launch info]



🇨🇦Magellan secures contract from the 🇨🇦Canadian government for $15.8M to design, build, launch, and operate the Redwing ‘space domain awareness microsatellite’ for launch in 2026. The launch provider is not yet announced. [SatNow]


The Saudi-owned 🇸🇦Water and Electricity Holding Company and UAE’s 🇦🇪Alpha Dhabi plan to invest in a multibillion-dollar funding round for 🇺🇸SpaceX, which will amount to about $140B. [YahooFinance]


🇺🇸NASA awarded more than $10.8M through its annual Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grants to 15 institutions, supporting R&D and exploration on the Moon. [SatelliteEvolution]


A six-company team led by 🇺🇸Arkisys consisting of 🇺🇸Novawurks, 🇺🇸Motiv Space Systems, 🇺🇸Qediq, 🇺🇸iBoss, and 🇺🇸Texas A&M University won a $1.6M contract from the 🇺🇸USSF. With an aim to demonstrate a three-axis stabilized satellite assembly using the robotic arm on the Arkisys Port Module, the mission is set for launch in 2024. [SpaceNews]. 


The 🇺🇸National Reconnaissance Office awarded six companies—🇺🇸BlackSky Technology, 🇺🇸HyperSat, 🇺🇸Orbital Sidekick, 🇮🇳Pixxel, 🇺🇸Planet, and 🇺🇸Xplore—contracts worth about $300K each to study commercial hyperspectral imaging. [ViaSatellite]


🇺🇸ABL Space secures $60M in total from 🇺🇸USSF and 🇺🇸U.S. Air Force (through a contract as well as the STRATFI agreement) for ground and flight demonstrations supporting tactically responsive space missions. [SpaceNews]


🇫🇷Anywaves signs a contract with 🇺🇸Maxar to provide telemetry communication devices for the latter’s LEO smallsat bus product line by the end of 2023, for launch in 2025. [SpaceWatchGlobal]


🇸🇬Equatorial Space Systems raises $1.5M for the development of its Dorado rocket, designed to provide low-cost space access for payloads, for launch mid-2024. [SatelliteEvolution] [🚀More on launch info]


🇮🇹Avio contracted by 🇮🇹Agenzia Spaziale Italiana for €55M for the design and development of its green, liquid-propellant engine, ‘Multi-Purpose Green Engine.’ The first version will be ready by Q4 2024, and the entire engine is to be completed within the first half of 2026. [LinkedIn]


🇺🇸Virgin Orbit soon to close a $200M investment from venture capitalist Matthew Brown, after resuming operations on March 23 and recalling some of its employees. [CNBC]



Check out Precious Weekly: March 13–19, 2023


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