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How war in Ukraine affects commercial space

Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat Market Update: February 21 – 28

Hey there, space gang!

In this edition of Precious Payload’s smallsat market update, we discuss the war between Ukraine and Russia and its effect on the commercial space industry. 


Space is above politics. That’s why we try to work with people from all countries—regardless of their political views. We remain focused on our mission to connect people working on space across the globe and will continue to do so.

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Launch Updates

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will change the world’s launch market. US sanctions that are part of an international response against Russia’s actions in Ukraine will cut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports. It will lead to the degradation of the Russian military along with the aerospace industry and space program.

Roscosmos halts all cooperation with European partners on space programs with Soyuz from the Guiana Space Center in South America following the invasion of Ukraine.

Sanctions, counter-sanctions, the war crisis in Ukraine, and possible future Russian isolation have already affected or could affect launch service providers around the world who rely on Soyuz modifications in Russia, Kazakhstan, and French Guiana—like IsiLaunch, ExoLaunch, SpaceFlight, GK Launch Services, Glavkosmos, etc. 

We collected news from the launch companies who have been affected by the war and from those who have announced that the situation will not affect their operations.

As events unfolded, Launcher relocated their Ukraine-based staff from Dnipro to the new European office in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

Three days ago, Skyrora reported that their team located at the Dnipro office has continued working remotely and that they are in regular communication with them. 

ULA, which operates the Atlas 5 rocket with a Russian engine RD-180, does not expect sanctions to have an impact.

Northrop Grumman doesn’t foresee any complications with Antares’s two nearest Cygnus missions, a rocket that relies on a Ukrainian-built first stage and Russian-made engines.


Globalstar awarded $327 million to MDA and $143 million contracts to Rocket Lab to replenish its satellite constellation. Past contracts of Rocket Lab were single small missions for their Photon bus, but this one is huge!


US-based private equity firm AE Industrial Partners (AEI) receives the part of Firefly Aerospace currently owned by Noosphere Venture Partners. [Source]

PSLV-C53 to be launched by ISRO in late Q1 of 2022 which will incorporate five rideshare satellites namely Oceansat 3, INS-2B, Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-04), INSPIREsat-1 and INS-2TD. [Source]

UK’s Spaceport Cornwall sets up facilities for smallsat services which includes space systems integration and operations from Cornwall Airport Newquay. [Source]

Through the Michigan Launch Initiative, the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association focuses on identifying and establishing sites for horizontal and vertical satellite launches as well as a command and control center for satellite operations [Source

The CAPSTONE cubesat mission by NASA is all set for launch on a Rocket Lab Electron into lunar orbit in spring 2022 which will help better understand operations in the near-rectilinear halo orbit. [Source]

Turkish satellite IoT solutions provider, Plan-S Satellite and Space Technologies, will launch its tech demo as a part of SpaceX‘s rideshare programme via Exolaunch in the second half of 2022. [Source]

Globalstar awarded $327 million and $143 million contracts to MDA and Rocket Lab to replenish its satellite constellation. [Source]

Canadian firm, Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC), contracts Exobotics to provide one 12U CubeSat platform and payload development services for DOGE-1 mission to the Moon which will be the first crypto currency funded space mission. [Source

INNOSPACE will launch satellites to SSO and polar orbits from Andøya Spaceport in Norway. [Source]

SpaceLink awarded OHB System AG a contract of $300 million to manufacture four satellites for its commercial space data relay constellation. [Source]

Oman’s ETCO and TUATARA signed a contract for launching the first Omani cubesat aboard a Virgin Orbit rocket. [Source]

Swedish broadband telecommunications company, Ovzon AB, delays the launch of smallsat Ovzon 3 to the second half of 2022 due to the inability of its completion. [Source]

China’s Long March 8 rideshare carries a domestic record of 22 satellites for commercial Chinese companies. [Source]

SpaceLogistics, owned by Northrop Grumman, plans to launch their Mission Robotic Vehicle in 2024 equipped with a robotic arm that will install propulsion jet packs on dying satellites. [Source]

Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat Market Update: February 14 – 20