Do rocket science. We’ll do the rest.

Precious Payload helps teams ship satellites to space.

Post-WSBW Paris Smallsat Update: Major Fundings, Grants, and Contract Revelations

In the new issue, we dive deep into the major smallsat updates from last week and World Business Satellite Week (WSBW) in Paris, spotlighting the most significant fundings, grants, and contracts in the space sector. From the ambitious collaboration between Spaceium and The Exploration Company for in-space servicing to the vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) developmental test flight by Stoke Space, we’ve got you covered. Not to mention the strategic move by SWISSto12 aiming to accelerate their HummingSats developments, and Phase Four’s impressive showcase of their Maxwell Block 2 thruster in orbit.

So, whether you attended WSBW or missed out, our no-BS smallsat update ensures you’re right on track with the industry’s latest. Let’s dive in!

Precious Weekly: September 11 — 17, 2023

Post-WSBS Paris Smallsat Update

🚀 Spotted a rocket icon? Tap the link for detailed insights about the launch or its provider on Launch.ctrl by Precious Payload. Dive deeper with a free account! 💫


Launch Updates

🇺🇸 Blue Origin is gearing up for 🚀the return of its New Shepard rocket after a mishap last year. The company plans an uncrewed test flight in early October, aiming to give the payloads from the NS-23 mission another opportunity for weightlessness. If successful, a crewed mission is anticipated for mid-February next year. [Ars Technica]

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may advance a launch license for 🇺🇸SpaceX’s Starship in October. [Reuters]

🇨🇦Telesat buys 14 Falcon 9 launches with 🇺🇸SpaceX for its optically-linked Lightspeed internet constellation in 2026. [Telesat] Seems like SpaceX to serve its Starlink competitors.

🇺🇸 Rocket Lab will launch 🚀four more HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron) missions for Leidos in 2024 and 2025. The launches will be conducted from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. [Rocket Lab]

After delays with Ariane 6, 🇩🇪The Exploration Company has chosen 🇮🇳ISRO’s PSLV for its initial demonstration mission, “Bikini,” 🚀scheduled for January 2024. The Exploration Company has also has inked a preliminary cargo delivery agreement with 🇺🇸Axiom Space building the private space station, with a full mission purchase planned for Q4 2027. [Techcrunch] And one more news from the Nyx developer — it partners with 🇺🇸Spaceium, creating in-orbit pit stops for interplanetary missions, for a demo to refuel a spacecraft in orbit. [Payload]



  • 🇩🇪 German startup Polaris Raumflugzeuge, developing a spaceplane Aurora, performed a successful flight of its fourth flight demonstrator, MIRA-𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, developed to refine flight control systems. This 2.5-meter mini MIRA is a testbed for the larger MIRA aerospike flight demonstrator, set for a year-end launch. [Polaris Raumflugzeuge]
  • 🇺🇸 Stoke Space, a launcher developing a 100% reusable rocket with 24-hour turnaround,  successfully conducted a vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) developmental test flight of its Hopper2 vehicle, reaching 9 meters in 15 seconds. [Stoke Space]
  • 🇺🇸Rocket Lab has started testing a Stage 2 tank for its Neutron rocket, aiming to demonstrate and verify its structural integrity.  [Michael Sheetz on X]
  • 🇫🇷 Ariane 6 core stage successfully completes hot-fire test. [ArianeGroup]
  • 🇺🇸 Phase Four has successfully demonstrated its Maxwell Block 2 radio-frequency thruster in orbit on a commercial satellite. The company hasn’t named the satellite customer. [SpaceNews]
  • 🇫🇷French rocket builder OPUS Aerospace announces a successful static pressure test of the concentric tank of its suborbital launch vehicle Mesange. This achievement paves the way for the upcoming stage test. [Opus Aerospace]



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





🇪🇸 Spanish launch startup 🚀PLD Space to hire 150 employees by 2024 for its MIURA 5 project. The company is prepping for MIURA 1’s suborbital maiden flight, a precursor to MIURA 5, capable of delivering 540 kg to LEO. Additionally, an MOU with WISeSat.Space has been signed for satellite launches of an IoT constellation, and PLD Space awaits a potential €40.5M grant from the Spanish government. [European Spaceflight]

🇺🇸Skyloom Global will integrate its Optical Communications Terminal (OCT) onto 🇦🇷 Satellogic’s satellites. This collaboration is expected to pave the way for low latency, high-capacity data transmission, offering innovative solutions for EO data delivery. [Satellogic]

🇺🇸Astranis partners with 🇲🇽 Mexican ISP Apco Networks to launch two dedicated broadband internet satellites for Mexico in 2024. The launch provider isn’t mentioned. [Astranis]

🇪🇺Intelsat wants Arianespace to launch its small GEO satellite IS-45 using Ariane 6 🚀in 2026. [ArianeSpace] [SpaceNews]

🇺🇸Redwire successfully bioprinted a human knee meniscus with living human cells aboard the ISS. Following a two-weeks culture process, the meniscus was returned to Earth on SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission. [RedWire]

🇸🇪AAC Clyde Space is planning to launch Ymir-1, with a 🇸🇪Saab VDES payload for two-way communication between satellite and ground in November. 🇺🇸ORBCOMM will integrate the data in the firm’s distribution center for maritime communications. After the tech demo partners aim to deploy a constellation to create a global maritime communication network. The launch provider is not mentioned. [AAC Clyde Space]

🇺🇸Sidus Space will integrate 🇺🇸/🇦🇺 HEO’s Holmes Imager into its upcoming LizzieSat missions, to be launched in Q2 2024. This move follows the payload’s success on Turion’s Droid-1 in 2023. The technology, powering HEO Inspect software, offers advanced insights into space objects. [Sidus Space]

Funding, Grants, and Contracts 

🇺🇸Firefly Aerospace has been awarded an $18M NASA contract to provide radio frequency calibration services from lunar orbit as part of the 🚀Blue Ghost Mission 2. [[Firefly Aerospace]

🇨🇭Swiss startup SWISSto12 has secured a €26.15M loan (working capital facility) from UBS Switzerland AG. This funding will accelerate the production and deployment of the first HummingSats for their GEO Radio Frequency communications smallsat constellation.  [SWISSto12]

🇨🇦GHGSat, a Canadian firm specializing in greenhouse gas monitoring, has secured $44M in its Series C1 funding to support the company’s constellation deployment. Equity participants included Fonds de solidarité FTQ, BDC Capital (the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada), the Government of Québec through Investissement Québec, Climate Investment, and the Japan Energy Fund. [GHGSat]

🇺🇸Prewitt Ridge, a space startup developing Verve, requirements management software, has successfully raised $4.1M in a seed funding round led by Squadra Ventures and saw participation from several other investors including Stage Venture Partners, Aurelia Foundry, and techStars. The startup aims to use this capital to expand its market outreach team and develop new integrations for its product. [Payload]

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scottish spacetech startup Krucial (formerly R3-IoT), which aims to improve connectivity in remote areas building software utilizing space IoT technology, has secured $3.7M in funding. The investment, led by the Scottish National Investment Bank, aims to boost Krucial’s expansion in key sectors such as energy, aquaculture, agriculture, and rail, both in the UK and globally. [Krucial]


New cohorts in space accelerators

Techstars chooses 12 global aerospace startups for its new space accelerator class:

  • 🇺🇸 Apeiron Space – Reusable launch vehicles.
  • 🇺🇸 closedloop – Robust OS for mission-critical robotics.
  • 🇦🇺 Esper Satellite Imagery – Hyperspectral Earth sensors.
  • 🇺🇸 GATE Space – Satellites with autopilot-like mobility.
  • 🇺🇸 iMetalX – In-space servicing and debris removal.
  • 🇺🇸 Iris Light – On-chip light sources using photonic inks.
  • 🇺🇸 Little Place Labs – Quick satellite analytics via AI.
  • 🇺🇸 Locus Lock – Advanced GPS/GNSS receiver.
  • 🇺🇸 O Analytics – Space object detection.
  • 🇺🇸 Magma Space – ADCS subsystems for satellites.
  • 🇮🇳 PierSight Space – Smallsat constellation for maritime domain awareness.
  • 🇺🇸 Westwood Aerogel – Thermal barriers for EVs.


Discover our smallsat updates from last week – read now!


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.