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Precious Payload helps teams ship satellites to space.

Refueling spacecraft in GEO, hyperspectral imaging for a mining giant, and a multi-orbit constellation

Precious Payload Market Update: January 10, 2022 — January 16, 2022

Hiya! We’re back with yet another edition of Precious Payload’s smallsat report. Here’s what caught our attention in the last week:

Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, will use Pixxel’s hyperspectral imaging as an early adopter to improve the prospecting and exploration of minerals. It is almost the first case for this satellite technology to get into the mainstream. Great to see that our old clients have a solid core idea and the support of the big corporation. 

Also, see the news from Mangata Networks. It’s pretty rare to see announcements of satellites to be launched to HEO and MEO.

The Transporter is now just a routine thing that eliminates the hassle of launching nanosatellites around the globe. The new mission was super successful. See the list of payloads launched below. And congratulations to our friends from NanoAvionics, who built several satellites launched with Transporter last week. 

You can find more news below.

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Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/12019-12019/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=92351">David Mark</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=92351">Pixabay</a>

Payloads 🛰🛰🛰

Virgin Orbit completes its third commercial mission, “Above the Clouds”, deploying seven payloads:

PAN (Pathfinder for Autonomous Navigation) tech-demo by Cornell University (the ELaNa program) consisting of two 3U cubesats PAN1 and PAN2;

GEARRS 3 (Globalstar Experiment And Risk Reduction Satellite), a 3U cubesat by NearSpace Launch in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) testing a satellite black box;

TechEdSat 13, a 3U CubeSat from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley;

ADLER 1 (Austrian Debris Detection Low Earth (orbit) Reconnoiter), a 3U tech demo of space debris detection;

STORK 3 by SatRelvolution;

and SteamSat 2 by SteamJet. (Source)

Virgin Orbit will launch from UK and Japan starting mid-2022. (Source)

SpaceX conducts its second orbital launch of 2022, the Transporter-3 mission, deploying 105 satellites to SSO aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral. Here’s some of them (check the complete list of payloads here):

Turkey’s first pocketqube satellite Grizu-263A

Planet Inc.’s 44 SuperDoves satellites for SkySat

Kepler Communication’s six communication satellites

Ororatech’s 6U OroraSat mission, built by Spire

Umbra Space’s second commercial SAR satellite, Umbra-02

Two Capella Space SAR satellites and ICEYE microsats

UAE’s DEWASAT-1built by NanoAvionics for Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

5 payloads from Spire, 8 ‘Tevel’ CubeSats built by Israeli students, 3 South African MDASats, Nuspace’s NUX-1

and more satellites managed by ISILaunch, D-Orbit’s new ION Carrier, Exolaunch and Spaceflight, and built by Spire and NanoAvionics. (Source)

Astra will launch from SLC-46 at Cape Canaveral next week, carrying five payloads under NASA’s ELaNa 41 program. (Source)

Beijing-based Galaxy Space, planning a constellation of 144 communication satellites, launched its tech demo—a 227kg Galaxy-1 satellite. The launch service operator is Expace, a commercial subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). (Source)


Launchers 🚀🚀🚀

Green Launch demonstrates their first vertical ground-based impulse launch that sent a projectile into the stratosphere from a 54-foot launch tube. (Source)

Gilmour Space Technologies successfully test-fires Australia’s first orbital rocket, which it plans to launch by Q4 2022. (Source)


More news 💸🪐🛸

Mining company Rio Tinto signs on as an early adopter of Indian-based Pixxel’s hyperspectral imagery. (Source)

Swizz watch company Omega partners with Clearspace to remove the “Vega Secondary Payload Adapter” left in space. (Source)

Mangata Networks closes the $33M Series A funding round led by Playground Global and plans to launch eight HEO satellites in 2024 and further 24 MEO satellites for enhanced telecommunications coverage. (Source)

Denver-based startup Atomos Space raises $5M in funding from Cantos Ventures and plans to launch two reusable orbital transport vehicles in 2023. (Source)

AAC Clyde Space will provide space products for a reusable in-space manufacturing satellite platform ForgeStar, a project of UK-based Space Forge. (Source)

Chinese national broadband LEO mega constellation project establishes a satellite cluster in Chongqing. (Source)

Loft Orbital ordered 15+ satellite buses from Airbus, leveraging the heritage provided to the ARROW platform through OneWeb. Airbus plans to manufacture Loft’s satellites at its factory in Florida. (Source) 

And a truly transformational moment for space sustainability and the on-orbit servicing market: OrbitFab will be refueling Astroscale’s Life Extension In-Orbit (LEXI) Servicer in GEO. It’s a commercial agreement. (Source)

Check out Precious Payload Market Update: January 3, 2022 — January 9, 2022