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Open Cosmos’ $50M Boost, Fleet Space’s New Mining Ally, Sumitomo Brings SpinLaunch to Japan

In the ever-evolving world of smallsat technology, this week’s highlights underscore the industry’s rapid advancements and strategic collaborations. Open Cosmos celebrates a significant $50M funding milestone, Fleet Space announces a promising alliance with a mining heavyweight, and Sumitomo Corporation takes a pivotal step by introducing SpinLaunch services to the Japanese market. Dive into our latest no-BS smallsat newsletter to get the full scoop on these developments and stay ahead in the satellite tech arena.

Precious Weekly: September 4 — 10, 2023

Open Cosmos' $50M Boost, Fleet Space's New Mining Ally, Sumitomo Brings SpinLaunch to Japan

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Launch Updates

🇺🇸 Rocket Lab is going to launch 🚀“We Will Never Desert You” on September 19. This mission, launching from Rocket Lab’s Complex 1 in New Zealand, will deploy the second of Capella’s third-generation SAR Acadia satellites to LEO. [Rocket Lab]

🇨🇳 China’s Galactic Energy successfully conducted its first sea launch with the Ceres-1 rocket on September 5. The launch, which took place off the coast of Haiyang, Shandong province, deployed four Tianqi satellites for Guodian Gaoke, aiming to enhance their LEO IoT constellation. This marks Galactic Energy’s ninth consecutive successful launch. [SpaceNews]



  1. A German launch startup 🇩🇪  HyImpulse has qualified its HyPLOX-75 hybird rocket engine (working on liquid oxygen and “space-grade candle wax”) engine for its SR75 rocket flight. The launch vehicle can lift 250 kg to 200 km. [HyImpulse]
  2. 🇪🇸 PLD Space is gearing up for 🚀the maiden flight of its Miura 1 vehicle in Huelva. The suborbital rocket is now back at the launch site, ready for its new attempt. [PLD Space]
  3. 🇪🇺 MaiaSpace, developing a Maia rocket, a partially reusable two-stage launch vehicle capable of delivering up to 1,500 kg to LEO, successfully conducted a cryogenic filling test on its full-scale upper stage prototype. MaiaSpace aims for 🚀its first orbital flight by 2025. [MaiaSpace]



  • 🇺🇸 Terran Orbital has announced a new initiative set to expedite satellite production, aiming to deliver hardware within 30 to 60 days by 2024. Additionally, the company introduced a fresh lineup of seven satellite buses this week. [Terran Orbital]
  • 🇯🇵 Sumitomo Corporation has partnered with 🇺🇸 SpinLaunch to represent a ground-based, electric-powered mass accelerator launch services in Japan. SpinLaunch, having successfully tested its Suborbital Accelerator at Spaceport America, recently introduced a new line of small satellite buses, aligning with its cost-effective approach and catering to future LEO constellation demands. [BusinessWire]
  • 🇨🇦 Wyvern and 🇺🇸 Loft Orbital are collaborating to expand the capacity of Wyvern’s Dragonette high resolution hyperspectral imagery constellation. Wyvern will secure observation time on a Loft Orbital mission slated for 2024. [Wyvern]
  • 🇺🇸 Globalstar, backed by Apple, has inked a $64M launch contract with 🇺🇸 SpaceX. The satellite network operator’s deal will kickstart the replacement of its LEO satellites by 2025. [TechCrunch]
  • 🇺🇸Relativity Space has signed a lease agreement for a vertical test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. [Relativity Space]
  • 🇦🇺 Fleet Space, which operates (and yet still deploying) a LEO satellite constellation and partners with mining giants Rio Tinto and Barrick Gold, has taken a stake in an exploration company 🇦🇺 Thor Energy. Fleet Space’s solution to ensure more accurate drilling operations at South Australia’s Alford East Copper-REE Project. [Fleet Space]
  • 🇺🇸 Firefly Aerospace has inked a multi-launch agreement with 🇺🇸 L3Harris Technologies for three dedicated launches using the Alpha vehicle in 2026. [SmallsatNews]
  • 🇬🇧 Vodafone and 🇿🇦 Vodacom are partnering with 🇺🇸 Amazon’s Project Kuiper to enhance 4G/5G connectivity in challenging regions of Africa and Europe. [Vodafone]


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Funding, Grants, and Contracts 

🇬🇧 Open Cosmos, a UK smallsat developer, has raised $50M in a Series B funding round led by ETF Partners, Trill Impact, and A&G. The investment will be used to expand the company’s operations in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific and develop larger satellites and constellations for Earth observation. [Open Cosmos

🇺🇸 Antaris, building a SaaS digital twin software platform for simplifying the development of space missions, has raised $3.5M in seed funding led by Streamlined Ventures. This funding will further accelerate the development of the Antaris Cloud Platform. Antaris launched its ‘software defined’ 6U satellite Janus-1 tech demo, entirely built using Antaris software and supply chains “in just 10 months, achieving 75% off the average satellite development cost.” This achievement came in early 2023. The company was recently awarded a contract to support the US DoD and is gearing up to launch its second technology demonstration satellite, JANUS-2, in the upcoming months. [Antaris]

An Indian startup 🇮🇳 Manastu Space secured a $3M pre-Series A funding round led by Capital 2B, BIG Capital, and other investors, for the development and deployment of its green propulsion and debris collision avoidance system, and in-space services. [Manastu Space]

🇺🇸Turion Space has secured six contracts,  worth a combined $5M+, from NASA, the Space Force, and the Air Force. These contracts support different areas of Turion’s product stack, emphasizing on-orbit mobility and debris removal infrastructure. [Payload]

🇯🇵 Japan’s government will grant JAXA $91M in 2024 to boost space development in companies and universities. [The Japan News]



NASA has voiced concerns over the sustainability of the SLS program, stating that “At current cost levels the SLS program is unsustainable.” [Ars Technica]


Discover our smallsat updates from last week – read now!


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