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Microgravity research platforms, new LSAs, and satellite launches in August

Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: July 25 — 31


It’s a weekly newsletter devoted to breaking news in the small satellite industry.




🇮🇳ISRO earned $279M through commercial satellite launches. It launched 345 satellites from clients from 34 countries via PSLV. [Business Standard]


While 🇮🇳ISRO is preparing for the first SSLV demo this week, 🇺🇸SpaceX is launching 🇰🇷DANURI lunar orbiter atop a Falcon 9 Block 5. For more August launches check out Launch.ctrl by Precious Payload. [Launch.ctrl]


Launch Updates


🇬🇧Astraius’ first satellite launch from Prestwick Spaceport has been confirmed on track. Earlier, the UK-based horizontal launch company announced the launch in 2024. 🇺🇸Northrop Grumman’s Orion solid rocket motors will boost the Astraius launch vehicle after extracting from the unmodified C-17 carrier aircraft. 🇺🇸Exquadrum’s upper stage will complete the mission. [SatNews]


🇪🇸Spanish UARX Space will provide launch services for 🇬🇷Libre Space Foundation’s PoquetQube deployers in 2023 and 2024. The companies signed a multiple launch services agreement. [Press Release]


🇺🇸FireFly is continuing launch preparations (NET September) for Alpha FLT002 “To The Black” mission at 🇺🇸Vandenberg Space Force Base SLC-2 launch site. [Twitter]


🇩🇪HyImpulse to launch 🇺🇸In Orbit Aerospace’s earth return spacecraft for microgravity experiments aboard the maiden launch of its SL1 in 2024. [Twitter]


🇨🇳Chinese CAS Space puts six satellites in orbit with first orbital launch of its Lijian-1 solid rocket, among them:

  • Nanyue Science Satellite by SASTSpace affiliated with the state-owned Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST)
  • GNSS-R payload, detecting reflected signals from Beidou and GPS satellites to make soil moisture measurements
  • ion propulsion system developed by SAST’s 803rd research institute. [SpaceNews]


🇺🇸X-Bow Systems (X-Bow) confirmed the successful suborbital launch of its Bolt Rocket at White Sands Missile Range. It carried a Payload Test Vehicle for the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). [SpaceRef]


🇺🇸Hydrosat gets Tier 1 remote-sensing certification for VanZyl-1, its first satellite mission, which is set to launch with 🇺🇸Loft Orbital via a 🇺🇸SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare early next year. [SpaceNews]


🇩🇪Yuri plans to launch its Science Taxi microgravity research platform to the ISS with 🇺🇸Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser in 2024. [LinkedIn]


CNES pre-selects the winners of micro and mini launchers to operate from the Guiana Space Center: 



🇩🇪ISAR Aerospace

🇫🇷MAIA Space

🇪🇸Payload Aerospace


🇫🇷Latitude (ex-Venture Orbital Systems). [LinkedIn]




🇺🇸HawkEye 360 opened a satellite factory near its headquarters in northern Virginia. Instead of using satellite buses from the 🇨🇦UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory for its RF payloads, the company aims to build the whole spacecraft for its constellation in-house ‘to better control the timeline and the costs’. [SpaceNews]


🇺🇸Redwire to develop space-based drug development and manufacturing platform—Bio-crystal Optimization Xperiment (PIL-BOX). [SpaceRef]


🇺🇸Rocket Lab will supply solar cells for three missile warning satellites 🇺🇸Lockheed Martin is building for the 🇺🇸U.S. Space Force in 2025. [Via Satellite]


🇺🇸Masten Space Systems, developing a lunar lander for a 🇺🇸NASA mission and aiming to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and selling major assets to a competitor. [SpaceNews]



Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: July 18 — 24