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Post-SmallSat week, ESA BICs space accelerator, and multiple launch updates

Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: August 8 — 14


Here’s what you need to know about last week’s smallsat headlines.


Launch Updates


🇺🇸Northrop Grumman and 🇺🇸Firefly Aerospace partner to develop an upgraded launch vehicle, Antares 330. It will use Firefly’s Miranda engines. The spacecraft will be launched by 2024. [SpaceDaily


🇺🇸Spaceflight’s latest OTV, Sherpa-LTC, is prepared to be launched in September 2022 with a Starlink mission via Falcon 9, carrying an undisclosed customer payload that was booked through 🇺🇸Astro Digital. [BusinessWire


🇪🇺ESA may contract 🇺🇸SpaceX to fulfill the lack of launch capacity due to the blocked access to Russia’s Soyuz rockets. The agency is also looking at a Japanese option. [Reuters]


🇺🇸Spaceflight Inc. and 🇮🇹SAB signed a contract for the use of the Sherpa OTV on the Arianespace’s Vega mission next year. The contract also gives clients access to pooled integration and storage facilities in both US and Europe. [Spaceflight]  [LaunchSchedule]


🇺🇸NASA’s lunar cubesat, Lunar IceCube, which will investigate lunar ice dynamics, will be launched on the SLS rocket with the Artemis 1 mission this month. [SpaceRef


🇨🇳Galactic Energy is the first private Chinese company with a commercially ready launch vehicle. Last week, it launched its Ceres-1 solid rocket for the third time. It carried three smallsats: Taijing-1 01 and 02 by 🇨🇳Minospace (mainly for commercial remote sensing services) and Donghai-1 by 🇨🇳ASES Space (to verify multi-mode remote sensing and key technologies). [Space.com]


🇮🇹D-Orbit signed a multiple launch and deployment contract with 🇨🇭Astrocast to launch 20 of its satellites aboard the ION Satellite Carrier over five years. The first set of four 3U satellites are scheduled for launch in November 2022 aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9. [GlobeNewswire


🇺🇸Momentus confirms launch of its Vigoride 5 tug in November 2022 aboard 🇺🇸SpaceX Transporter-6 rideshare mission. The payloads include Zeus-1 cubesat by 🇸🇬Qosmosys and 🇺🇸Caltech’s hosted payload, SSPD-1. [SpaceNews]


🇦🇺Gilmour Space Technologies signs agreement with 🇬🇧Commercial Space Technologies to provide a launch capacity of 50kg on their Eris Block 1 vehicle which is expected to launch this year from 🇦🇺Bowen Orbital Spaceport. [SatNews


🇺🇸Virgin Orbit will be launching 🇰🇷J-Space’s smallsats. The first LauncherOne flights from South Korea could start in the next 12 -18 months. [SpaceWatch.Global]


🇩🇪DCUBED will launch its new uD3PP actuator for an in-orbit demonstration with 🇩🇪Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum maiden launch planned for 2023 from Norway. [ParabolicArc]


Due to the inability to comply with requirements for deorbiting, 🇺🇸NASA’s GTOSat and a second unidentified rideshare payload were exempted from the launch of SBIRS GEO-6 missile-warning satellite aboard Atlas 5. [SpaceNews]


Two experimental student payloads (from 🇺🇸Brigham Young University and the 🇺🇸University of Central Florida) will be launched with a test flight of a 🇺🇸RocketStar’s Cowbell suborbital rocket by 🇺🇸TriSept Corp. in September 2022. The UCF payload is designed to simulate asteroid particle activity during the suborbital flight, and the BYU students provided a sensor suite to measure motion, acceleration, and vibration aboard the launch vehicle. [SpaceNews


🇨🇳China launched 16 new remote sensing satellites aboard the Long March 6 rocket from 🇨🇳Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. The payloads included ten Jilin-1 optical imaging satellites for 🇨🇳Chang Guang Satellite Technology (CGST) and six Yunyao-1 04–08 satellites developed jointly by CGST and 🇨🇳Tianjin Yunyao Aerospace Technology. [Space.com]


🇺🇸/🇬🇧/ 🇩🇪Alba Orbital and 🇷🇴 RomSpace from the International Computing High School of Bucharest today announced a rideshare agreement to launch ROM-2, Romania’s first pocketqube, aboard the ‘Alba Cluster 7’ mission via 🇺🇸SpaceX in Q1 2023. [Press Release]




🇺🇸Antaris secures $4.2M seed funding led by 🇺🇸Acequia Capital and Possible Ventures which will help accelerate the development of the Antaris Open Space platform for satellite and space solutions and the launch of its first satellite, Janus I, aboard ISRO’s PSLV no earlier than Q3 2022. [PaperNewsNetwork


🇪🇺ESA launches a new accelerator, Nordic Launch, where startups receive business coaching, technical support, and  €50 000 in cash incentives for up to two years. [SpaceWatch]


🇬🇧Space start-ups generated almost £9 million in investment and created 80 new jobs after taking part in a 🇬🇧UK Space Agency-backed business accelerator. [Gov.uk]



🇺🇸Benchmark Space Systems introduced its 2U collision avoidance Hall effect thruster kit, Cola Kit, which will start delivering by early 2023 and has received 🇺🇸Scout Space as its first customer. [SpaceNews


🇺🇸Kayhan Space enhances the capabilities of its Pathfinder platform to help satellite operators avoid collisions and can be used for satellites with various types of thrusters as well as for spacecraft without onboard propulsion. [ViaSatellite


🇺🇸Blue Canyon has inaugurated its latest cubesat factory in 🇺🇸Colorado with manufacturing and production facilities for up to 85 cubesats a year. [SatNews]


🇺🇸Blue Canyon gets contracted by 🇺🇸Tomorrow.io to provide 18 cubesats for its microwave-sounding mission planned to be fully operational in 2024. [SpaceNews]


🇺🇸L3Harris selected 🇺🇸Maxar Technologies to manufacture 14 spacecraft platforms for the SDA’s Tracking Layer Tranche 1 LEO constellation which will be launched in 2025. [IQStock]


🇺🇸Capella Space intends to offer enhanced image resolution and quality with its new-gen synthetic aperture radar satellites, Acadia. The company wants to launch the first Acadia satellites in early 2023. [Press Release


🇱🇹NanoAvionics added two additional microsatellite buses, MP42H and MP42D, to its product line that will allow customer payloads up to 145kg and a total satellite mass of up to 220 kg. [ParabolicArc]


🇱🇹Astrolight, together with 🇪🇺ESA, has successfully performed laser communication from a satellite to the ground using a portable OGS-1 optical ground station with the help of the laser transmitter system, Osiris, aboard the LEO Flying Laptop satellite. [SpaceWatch.Global]



Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: August 1 — 9