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Green propellants, satellite factory in Belgium, and new constellations

Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: June 6 – 19



Hello there, it’s Marina, head of marketing at Precious Payload. I know you were waiting for our Monday newsletter last week, and thanks for your patience! I had to take a little break—I went on a retreat in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. I’m back with a clear head and even more exciting news on smallsat developments and launcher updates.


Launch updates

🇫🇷Ariane 6 maiden flight rescheduled to 2023. [Source


🇺🇸NASA’s CAPSTONE moon mission (launch operator 🇺🇸Rocket Lab) was delayed to June 25. [Source]


🇺🇸Space Systems Command partners with 🇺🇸Virgin Orbit to launch twin 6U cubesats this summer from 🇬🇧Spaceport Cornwall under the CIRCE mission to measure Earth’s ionosphere and particle radiation environment. [Source]


🇺🇸NASA’s Lunar Flashlight spacecraft will be launched aboard 🇺🇸SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket later this year after scrapping its Artemis 1 ride due to delays. [Source


The delayed launch of the Psyche asteroid mission due to problems identified during testing of its software causes 🇺🇸NASA’s smallsat mission, Janus, to change its target asteroid for a flyby. [Source



Deployment of the first of three 🇺🇸NASA’s TROPICS cubesats failed due to premature upper engine shut down of Rocket 3.3 by 🇺🇸Astra, leading to the loss of two satellites aboard. [Source]


Vigoride, an OTV by 🇺🇸 Momentus launched with Transporter-5 in late May, continues to exhibit power and communication issues. It could deploy only two out of nine payloads. The company plans to debug the space tug’s issue and launch it in November with the next 🇺🇸SpaceX rideshare, Transporter-6. [Source





🇮🇹D-Orbit gets awarded a $2M contract by ESA to enhance its ION Satellite Carrier performance and efficiency. [Source]


🇺🇸Planet contracted $146M over five years from the National Reconnaissance Office to provide daily imagery and access. [Source]


🇩🇰GomSpace gets awarded $1.28M for building two 12U cubesats for the German Aerospace Center by 2023. [Source]


🇰🇷CONTEC raises $47.3M in funding to develop a worldwide ground station network and launch its EO satellites. [Source]


🇫🇷ThrustMe was awarded an ESA GSTP contract to develop and qualify the electric propulsion system NPT30-I2-1.5U for demonstration in GomSpace’s GOMX-5 satellite. [Source]


🇩🇰Quadsat received a $525,000 worth 10-month long ESA contract to enable its quadcopters to calibrate and test satellite antennas. [Source]


🇸🇪AAC Clyde Space won a $590,000 contract for its Sirius avionics for 🇮🇱SpaceIL‘s moon mission, Beresheet 2, with Q1 of 2024 to be the estimated delivery period. [Source]


🇺🇸Impulse Space raised $10M funding from 🇺🇸Lux Capital to help accelerate work on orbital transfer vehicles. [Source]


🇫🇷ION-X secured $4.1M for R&D and demonstration flight of their scalable smallsat propulsion technology for a flight model by the end of 2023. [Source


🇨🇦NovAtel signed a contract with 🇺🇸Xona Space Systems to use services from Xona’s planned 300 cubesat network and to set up its technology on the in-orbit test bed. [Source]


🇮🇱Gilat Satellite Networks’ subsidiary, Wavestream, receives more than $8M investment to supply its Solid State Power Amplifiers technology to support a LEO constellation gateway. [Source


🇺🇸Evolution Space signed a $120M contract with 🇺🇸Xenesis to launch its optical communication smallsat constellation through 5 suborbital and 25 orbital launches by early 2025. [Source]


More headlines

🇦🇷VENG signed an agreement with 🇫🇮ReOrbit to manufacture satellites and support the Latin American market. [Source]


🇺🇸SFL successfully deorbited CanX-7 smallsat employing drag sail technology to reduce time spent in the orbit. [Source]


🇮🇹Terran Orbital’s subsidiary, Tyvak International SRL-built LEO satellite, CENTAURI-5, for 🇦🇺Fleet Space completed bus commissioning. [Source]


🇧🇪Aerospacelab plans to establish a mega factory to produce 500 satellites annually in Charleroi, Belgium, starting in 2025. [Source]


🇺🇸SpaceX and 🇬🇧OneWeb struck an agreement to allow their current and second-generation broadband mega-constellations to coexist. [Source]


🇬🇧OneWeb successfully delivered LEO inflight connectivity on Boeing 777 test flight using 🇺🇸Stellar Blu Solutions’ terminal platform, Sidewinder. [Source]


🇺🇸Phase Four and 🇺🇸Impulse Space collaborate to develop and market multi-mode propulsion capabilities focussing on green propellants and are currently working on several commercial small satellites with the same technology. [Source]



Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: May 30 – June 5