Do rocket science. We’ll do the rest.

Precious Payload helps teams ship satellites to space.

First Ever GEO SAR Satellite, European Rideshare Mission & Launch Updates

Dive into this week’s Precious Weekly newsletter, highlighting the world’s first GEO SAR satellite, European rideshare mission, and top smallsat news. Stay updated with the latest in the space industry, all in one concise read.

Precious Weekly: August 14 — 20, 2023

 the Vega launch, similar to the European rideshare mission

Image: A Vega launch to depict the European rideshare mission in September 2023

🚀 Spotted a rocket icon? Tap the link for detailed insights about the launch or its provider on Launch.ctrl by Precious Payload. Dive deeper with a free account! 💫


Launch Updates

🇫🇷 Arianespace is set to launch 🚀Europe’s final mission of 2023 on a Vega rocket in September, carrying a rideshare mission: 

  • 🇹🇭 The Airbus-built 450 kg THEOS-2 smallsat for Earth observation: land use, agricultural monitoring, forestry management, coastal zone monitoring, and flood risk management (primary payload).
  • 🇹🇼 FORMOSAT-7R/TRITON 300 kg weather smallsat (primary payload).
  • 🇪🇸 ANSER-Leader, ANSER-Follower 1, and ANSER-Follower 2 for monitoring water quality in reservoirs and swamps.
  • 🇪🇺 ESA’s 12U PROBA V-CC cubesat for experimental vegetation observations.
  • 🇳🇱 CSC-1 and CSC-2 satellites by ISISPACE.
  • 🇱🇺 Kongsberg NanoAvionics-built 6U MACSAT satellite for 🇱🇺 OQ Technology’s 5G constellation.
  • 🇪🇪 3U ESTcube-2 cubesat to test a plasma brake for satellite disposal.
  • 🇫🇷 CNES-commissioned 3U NESS cubesat by 🇫🇷 U-Space to monitor civilian radiofrequency spectrum.
  • 🇪🇺 ESA’s 3U PRETTY cubesat for measuring ice and sea heights and ocean currents. [European Spaceflight]

🇦🇺Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) secures a multi-launch deal with South Korean rocket firm 🇰🇷Innospace, with initial launches set for early 2025. Innospace previously launched a suborbital Hanbit-TLV test rocket at Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center in 2023. [Equatorial Launch Australia]

🇩🇪 Exolaunch has secured a multi-launch agreement to deploy the first three satellites for 🇺🇸Muon Space’s constellation, which will use a new generation of sensors to monitor Earth’s climate and ecosystems. Launch details to be confirmed. [The Journal of Space Commerce]

🇺🇸 Rocket Lab has signed a deal with NASA for a climate change research mission focused on Arctic ice caps, set for 2024. 🚀Two Electron launches have been secured. [BusinessWire] The company has also secured 🚀a dedicated Electron launch deal with Japan’s Earth imaging company, 🇯🇵 iQPS, after Virgin Orbit’s bankruptcy. [Via Satellite]

🇺🇸 Intuitive Machines completes lunar lander, set for Cape Canaveral shipment by September 15th. 🚀Launch from pad 39A slated between November 15-20. [Intuitive Machines]

🇦🇪🇹🇷 UAE and Türkiye ink MoU to co-develop a commercial launch vehicle and site. The collaboration might see Emirati investment in Türkiye’s existing space program, with Roketsan’s Micro-Satellite Launch Vehicle set for a 2026 debut. [Middle East Space Monitor]

🇨🇳 China launches the world’s first SAR satellite in GEO, Ludi Tance-4 (01), enhancing its natural disaster monitoring capabilities. The satellite, developed by CAST, was launched via Long March 3B. [Orbital Index]



Subscribe to our newsletter now for exclusive smallsat updates straight to your inbox!






  • 🇺🇸 Relativity Space is accelerating its Aeon R gas generator campaign with daily testing this summer. Aeon R gas generators are used in their rocket engines. [LinkedIn]
  • 🇩🇪 POLARIS is to start testing its fourth spaceplane demonstrator from September 2023. [European Spaceflight]
  • 🇮🇳 GalaxEye captures the first image with their Drishti Sensor using a drone. DroneSAR is India’s first tech demonstrator for satellites, capable of all-time, all-weather imaging. Previously, such tech was exclusive to ISRO and DRDO. [LinkedIn]

Image: Historic 1st Capture of GalaxEye’s Drishti Sensor



🇹🇼 SpeQtral teams up with 🇱🇹 NanoAvionics and 🇮🇪 Mbryonics for its SpeQtral-1 Mission. NanoAvionics will supply the satellite bus, while Mbryonics—the optical terminal, facilitating the transmission of QKD photons from SpeQtral’s quantum hardware to optical ground stations. Launch details are not mentioned yet. [PRNewswire]

🇺🇸 Momentus trims its workforce by 30% as it explores “strategic options” for funding amidst financial challenges. [SpaceNews]

🇮🇳 Satellite manufacturer Dhruva Space acquires IMS-1 Satellite Bus Technology from NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). The ISRO-developed tech, used in missions like IMS-1 and Youthsat, promotes low-cost space access. This transfer aligns with India’s goal to boost private sector involvement in space and expand its global space market presence. [NSIL]

🇺🇸 Redwire collaborates with Sierra Space on a biotech research platform for a commercial space station module. [SpaceNews]


Funding and Contracts 

  • 🇺🇸 Axiom Space secures $350M in funding from Saudi Arabian and South Korean investors for its commercial space station project. [SpaceNews]
  • 🇺🇸 Integrate Space raises $3.4M in a Seed round led by Hyperplane to expand its team and grow its customer base. Recently, the startup won a $1.25M USSF contract, and got Firefly as a customer of its software, digitalizing collaborations to manage complex programs. [Yahoo!Finance]
  • 🇺🇸 Planet Labs is set to acquire Sinergise, a Slovenian geospatial software company, to enhance its data analysis platform. [BusinessWire]
  • 🇬🇧 BAE Systems is acquiring space tech firm 🇺🇸Ball Aerospace for $5.6bn. [The Guardian]
  • 🇺🇸 NASA’s 2023 Entrepreneurs Challenge announces Round 1 winners, each securing $16,000 and a chance to compete for up to $85,000 in Round 2. These innovators are set to present their concepts in Washington this November. Check out the winners here: [NASA]
  • 🇮🇳 Satellite operator SatSure invests in Astrogate Labs to boost its subsidiary, KaleidEO’s satellite mission. The partnership integrates Astrogate’s 1 Gbps laser communication system with KaleidEO’s optical payload, ensuring faster and secure satellite-to-ground communication. The sum is not disclosed. [Satsure] 

Start-up Cohorts and Accelerator Programs

🇪🇺 ESA’s ScaleUp INVEST program, aiming to accelerate the growth of the private space ecosystem, welcomes its first batch of companies:

  • 🇩🇪 Isar Aerospace: a rocket manufacturer.
  • 🇩🇪 Rocket Factory Augsburg: a rocket manufacturer.
  • 🇬🇧 Orbex: a rocket manufacturer.
  • 🇧🇪 Aerospacelab: end-to-end geospatial intelligence solutions using satellite data.
  • 🇫🇷 Space Cargo Unlimited: researching the effects of microgravity on biological organisms and materials.


Discover our smallsat updates from last week – read now!


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.