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Say goodbye to Soyuz, VLEO takes off, and new smallsat launcher

Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat Market Update: March 1 – 7

It’s a new week, and we are ready to talk about the latest happenings in the smallsat world.

Launch Updates

Soyuz launches operated by Arianespace and Starsem were suspended. And last Friday, Russia pulled a Soyuz rocket topped with 36 OneWeb satellites from its launchpad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


Given the fact that Soyuz launch vehicles have gone out of the international market earlier than it could have happened, and since Ukrainian enterprises that worked for the American and British launch providers have stopped operations, a significant effect on the launch market comes. 

Only SpaceX can react quickly and respond to this situation. In the short term Transporter rideshare missions will be prioritized for smallsat launches. Only SpaceX can react quickly and respond to this situation. 

Here, companies like Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, or Astra could attempt to increase the number of successful commercial launches, but this is unlikely in the near future.

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Rocket Lab USA launched ​​”The Owl’s Night Continues” mission carrying StriX β satellite for Japanese company Synspective. [Source]

UK-based company Satellite Vu plans to launch a constellation of seven thermal infrared imaging satellites with funds from Lockheed Martin. [Source]

SaxaVord Spaceport signs a memorandum with French small launch rocket developer Venture Orbital Systems for their first launch in 2024 of a rocket for delivering small payloads of 70-80kg into LEO. [Source]

Barcelona-based startup Kreios Space proposes a fuel-free propulsion system that enables satellites to conduct very low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellite missions. [Source]

OHB Systems AG (OHB) and SpaceLink agree to build smaller and cheaper relay satellites for their constellation by 2024. [Source]

Hawaiian venture, Privateer, launches a new visualization tool, ‘Wayfinder’, to act as a source of space situational awareness data for satellite operators. [Source]

Australia’s Fleet Space Technologies gets awarded $20 million by their government development of the Space Manufacturing Hub, which will host the manufacturing of Alpha, the smallsat constellation. [Source]

The United States Space Force plans to launch a satellite to patrol cislunar space to track and identify artificial objects surrounding the moon and beyond. [Source]

Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and York Space Systems signed contracts worth millions with the Space Development Agency for LEO constellation production. [Source]

Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat Market Update: February 21 – 28