Do rocket science. We’ll do the rest.

Precious Payload helps teams ship satellites to space.

Hydrosat secures $20M, Axiom launches Space Access Program, and Astrobotic books Falcon Heavy launch for 2026

See news tagged with a 🚀? Click it to reveal more about the Astrobotic books Falcon Heavy launch on Launch.ctrl—your gateway to space! 💫

Precious Weekly: April 24 — 30, 2023

Welcome to the 56th issue of Precious Weekly! In this edition, we are asking you to fill out a survey and provide your valuable feedback. Help us improve and shape the future of our newsletter. Plus, get two months of FREE access to our new product when it launches.

Launch Updates

🇺🇸Astrobotic plans to launch its third lunar lander in 2026 using Falcon Heavy. No customers have been announced for this mission, which does not currently have a CLPS award. Astrobotic already has two landers, Peregrine and Griffin, that will launch on upcoming missions in 2023 (aboard ULA’s Vulcan, carrying payloads for NASA through the CLPS program as well as for other customers) and 2024 (aboard Falcon Heavy, carrying NASA’s VIPER rover to look for ice deposits at the lunar south pole), respectively. [SpaceNews]

🇨🇳Chinese rocket startup Orienspace plans to launch its Gravity-1 rocket from a mobile sea platform developed at Haiyang in Shandong province during the H2 of 2023. The rocket can lift around 6,500 kg of payload to LEO, making it the world’s most capable all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Orienspace has already secured orders to launch hundreds of satellites and has been shortlisted in plans for several satellite constellations. The company has raised $47M in funding this year and signed a contract to launch several Jilin-1 Gaofen-05 series spacecraft. [SpaceNews


Past flights

🇯🇵ispace attempted to land Hakuto-R, its first cargo mission on the moon but lost communication with the spacecraft and deemed the attempt unsuccessful. The uncrewed mission carried scientific research and other payloads, including UAE’s Rashid rover.[CNBC]



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





🇰🇷InssTek, a Korean 3D printing company, has conducted a successful firing test of a multi-material 3-ton rocket nozzle it developed in partnership with the 🇰🇷Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). [LinkedIn]

🇺🇸Virgin Galactic performed a glide test of their VSS Unity spacecraft. [VG]



🇨🇮Ivoirian company UKA, in partnership with 🇨🇮The Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HB), has announced that Côte d’Ivoire first nanosatellite program, YAM-SAT CI 01. The satellite is planned to be placed in orbit in 2024. It will provide actionable intelligence to Ivorian farmers to enable them to adapt to climate change through smart inputs and precision agriculture. [UK Daily]

🇺🇸Astra Space selects 🇺🇸Ursa Major’s Hadley engine to power the upper stage of its new Rocket 4 launch vehicle, which will launch in late 2023. [SpaceNews] [🚀More info on launch]

🇺🇸Astra Space will provide five Spacecraft Propulsion Kits for 🇺🇸Apex Space’s Aries satellite bus platform later this year. Apex Space, a startup that aims to transform satellite bus manufacturing, raised $7.5M in seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz last fall. [ParabolicArc]

🇯🇵 Japanese space tech company ALE will launch the ALE-3 satellite in 2024 to gather climate information in the mesosphere. It’s the third satellite in the company’s SKY CANVAS project. ALE successfully launched ALE-1 and ALE-2 satellites in 2019, and the first commercial service of SKY CANVAS is scheduled to take place in 2025, allowing people to view the world’s first live human-made meteor shower. [SmallSat News]

🇺🇸Axiom Space has unveiled The Axiom Space Access Program, which offers priority for future missions onboard Axiom Station and other activities allowing countries to create human spaceflight programs without developing their infrastructure or other capabilities. Among participating partners there is 🇦🇿Azerbaijan, 🇮🇹Italy, 🇳🇿New Zealand, 🇺🇿Uzbekistan, and the 🇮🇱Rakia Mission based in Israel. [SpaceNews]

🇮🇹The Italian Space Agency has contracted 🇫🇷Thales and 🇮🇹Leonardo to develop the Space Factory 4.0 program, which will provide the necessary tools and resources for the mass production of advanced satellites. The Space Factory 4.0 facilities will be located in different regions of Italy and interconnected with the entire supply chain, including startups and research centers. The program is expected to start operations by 2026. [SatelliteEvolution]

🇺🇸NASA selected 16 proposals from 12 companies under the 2022 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity for capabilities like testing a new lunar rover tire design, developing a robotically assembled power system, etc., for a total funding of $14.5M. [SpaceWatchGlobal] [List of selected companies]

A satellite signal failure has impacted GPS-enabled machinery planting crops in 🇦🇺Australia and 🇳🇿New Zealand. The satellite provider, 🇬🇧Inmarsat, is working to fix the issue, but there is no indication of when the problem will be resolved. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

🇮🇳Extra Terrestrial Manufacturing Group (ExTeM),🇮🇳 IITMadras, and 🇮🇳Vellon Space have signed an MoU to develop technologies for In-Space Manufacturing, including growing diamonds in space and creating new manufacturing methods suitable for use in microgravity environments. [LinkedIn]

🇫🇷Exotrail has signed a contract with 🇰🇷Satrec Initiative to provide a spaceware electric propulsion system for a 🇰🇷Korean governmental mission. [Press Release]

🇺🇸Phantom Space has selected the 🇦🇺Arnhem Space Centre, developed by 🇦🇺Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), for a dedicated launch site with direct access to very low-inclination and equatorial orbits. [SpaceDaily]

🇪🇬Egypt is set to open its satellite AIT center in the newly built Egypt space city to other African countries for testing satellite components and subsystems. The center is expected to become operational by June 2023. [AfricanSpace]



🇺🇸Hydrosat raises $20M in new financing to accelerate the development of its satellite constellation to measure water stress and climate impact, including a $15M Series A round led by Statkraft Ventures and more than $5M in non-dilutive funding. The company included new investors Blue Bear Capital and Hartree Partners. [SpaceWatchGlobal]

🇺🇸Air Force contracts 🇺🇸Light Steering Technologies for $1.25M for the angular pointing technology of its ‘Multi-Axis Scanner’ for smallsat applications. [SpaceNews]

🇺🇸X-Bow Systems raises $60M from the 🇺🇸Air Force through the STRATFI agreement enabling them to produce more solid rocket motors and undergo beta testing. [SpaceNews]


Global investment in the space industry has experienced its lowest quarter since 2015, with only $2.2 billion invested during Q1, according to a report by Space Capital. The venture capital firm warns that this contraction has left many space companies at risk of funding gaps, and a clear divide between the winning companies and the rest of the market has emerged. [Space Investment Quarterly]

Washington Post posted this bright headline: “Despite bankruptcy, Virgin Orbit CEO says the company launch again.”


Discover our smallsat updates from last week – click the link now!


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.