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How to get satellite bus from Rocket Lab but launch it on SpaceX, and more exciting SmallSat stories

Precious Payload Market Update: October 11, 2021 — October 17, 2021

Two main observations from the last week’s SmallSat overview:

  1. Rocket Lab is doing the second acquisition this time. It acquires Advanced Solutions. That’s one of the main reasons why space companies came public, they use public stock to acquire other companies.
  2. Also, exciting thought from the last week’s update: Varda Space gets satellite buses from Rocket Lab but launching them on SpaceX. This case is the one where (a) the Photon bus isn’t limited to Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle, and (b) Varda Space cites that they prefer not to bet only on one supplier, so they distributed their supply chain among several companies.

More small satellite news awaits you in the report below.

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Rocket Labs Launch Site, Mahia Peninsula, Hawkes Bay, NZ – 3/9/16 by Grumpy Eye

Soon to be a Public Company, Planet Labs unveil their new line of Imagery satellites, Pelican, to enhance the existing constellation of 21 SkySats. Planet plans to launch the new satellites aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2022. (Source)

Rocket Lab acquires space software company Advanced Solutions, Inc. (ASI) for $40M to strengthen its Space Systems portfolio in addition to their current Photon spacecraft line and solutions from Sinclair Interplanetary. (Source)

Rocket Lab will launch two dedicated missions for Spaceflight Inc.’s customer, BlackSky, in November. Each mission will deploy two Gen-2 Earth-imaging satellites aboard 22nd and 23rd Electron launches from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. (Source)

After an unsuccessful attempt last month, Astra expects to launch a test payload for the Space Test Program’s second mission STP-27AD2 aboard the LV0007 rocket from the Spaceport in Kodiak, Alaska, next week. (Source)

The Indian Space Association (ISpA) gets formed with its members OneWeb, Bharti Airtel & others. It will include government bodies like NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to develop space privatization and startup culture in the region in partnership with ISRO. (Source)

ESA signed a €24M contract with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd to build the second Earth observation Scout mission, HydroGNSS, a 55kg small satellite to measure climate change variables by 2024. (Source)

Varda Space signs an LSA with SpaceX for its first space manufacturing satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rideshare mission slated for launch in Q1 2023. The spacecraft will test in-space manufacturing technologies, with further missions expected by Q4 2024. (Source)

Thailand-based Mu-Space Corp. unveils its new 200kg satellite, mu-B200 Block 1. It is expected to be launched to LEO by Q2 2022. (Source)

Arianespace launches 36 more OneWeb satellites aboard the Soyuz 2.1b rocket bringing the total fleet in LEO to 358 of a planned 648 constellation. This was an eleventh launch dedicated to OneWeb’s satellites, with eight more Soyuz launches expected by Q4 2022. (Source)

OneWeb will collaborate with NewSpace India Limited to use their PSLV and the heavier GSLV-MkIII to launch its internet connectivity satellites from India starting 2022. (Source)

In an attempt to reserve future orbital slots, the Government of Rwanda surprisingly submits ITU filing for its planned Cinnamon-217 and Cinnamon-937 constellation of 327,320 satellites with 27 orbital shells in LEO. (Source)

Denmark’s Sternula partners with Ghana Maritime Authority to provide a VHF Data Exchange System (VDES), AIS 2.0, for maritime safety after launching the first of 60 satellites starting 2022. (Source)

Virginia-based SpaceLink selects OHB Systems AG to manufacture and launch four optical relay satellites in 2024. OHB also plans to sign on as a strategic investor by investing $25M into this project. (Source)

Inmarsat will support Hiber‘s IoT services using their existing L-band constellation, ELERA, enhanced by the two more Inmarsat-6 satellites expected to be launched by Q3 2022. (Source)

Japanese ArkEdge Space Inc.’s 6U satellite constellation program gets selected for a subsidy under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s “Nano-Satellite Constellation Technology Development and Demonstration Project”. The company will build a 6U nano-satellite bus system to launch the VDES satellite for maritime DX in 2023 and seven 6U satellite constellations by 2025. (Source)

HawkEye 360‘s commissions its new set of three RF satellites in orbit, Cluster 3 launched in June and plans to launch an additional seven clusters by 2023. (Source)

Italian-based Sidereus Space Dynamics raises €1.5M in a seed round led by Primo Space and CDP Venture Capital Sgr to develop a fully reusable orbital launch vehicle for small satellites and payloads, EOS by Q2 2023. (Source)

The Norwegian Government approves the construction of a spaceport on Nordmela, Andøya aiming for its first launch by Q2 2022. (Source)

Skyrora signs a ten-year multi-launch deal with Scottish SaxaVord spaceport to launch its XL rocket fueled with Ecosene made from waste plastic in 2022. (Source)

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) will test the launch of a three-stage NURI rocket with a dummy payload next week. This will be the country’s first domestically built LV with further launches for Korea’s satellite-based navigation system and a 6G communications network by 2030. (Source)

Australian Space Agency plans on sending a rover to the moon to scoop up lunar regolith for ISRU by 2026 as part of the country’s role in the NASA-led Artemis lunar exploration effort. (Source)

China launches its first solar exploration satellite, CHASE (Chinese Hα Solar Explorer), and ten other spacecraft aboard a Long March 2-D rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China. (Source)


Check out Precious Payload Market Update: October 4, 2021 — October 10, 2021.