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Precious Payload’s Weekly Smallsat News: October 10-17, 2022


Everything you need to know about recent smallsat headlines around the universe. 

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Launch Updates

You can now book a 50kg 🇺🇸SpaceX rideshare slot for $275K, with extra kilos at $5.5K. [SpaceX] [Opinion]


🇺🇸Virgin Orbit is ready to perform the first 🇬🇧UK orbital launch on October 29, with seven payloads onboard its LauncherOne rocket. [BBC


List of ‘Start me up’ mission payloads

  • Prometheus-2: Two 6U cubesats built by 🇬🇧In-Space Missions, a test platform for monitoring radio signals including GPS and sophisticated imaging
  • IOD-3 AMBER: A 6U built by 🇸🇪/🇬🇧AAC Clyde, operated by 🇬🇧Satellite Application Catapult, carrying an experimental payload for Horizon Technologies
  • CIRCE: Two 6U buses with three payloads from 🇬🇧UK academia and industry, and two identical 🇺🇸US TRI-TIP (Tiny Ionospheric Photometer) instruments (one for each satellite)
  • DOVER: A 3U by 🇬🇧Open Cosmos for 🇧🇪RHEA Group, a pathfinder for resilient GNSS-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions
  • ForgeStar-0: A platform by 🇬🇧Space Forge
  • AMAN: The first Omani satellite—a 3U cubesat developed after an MoU among the  🇴🇲Sultanate of Oman,🇵🇱SatRev, 🇵🇱TUATARA, and 🇴🇲ETCO
  • STORK-6: Built by 🇵🇱SatRevolution.


🇯🇵JAXA’s Epsilon rocket fails to reach orbit on liftoff from 🇯🇵Uchinoura Space Center, resulting in the loss of all eight smallsats on board (including the RAISE-3 technology demonstration smallsat), due to malfunction after its second stage shut down. Other payloads: 

  • LEOMI by 🇯🇵Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT): A tech demo of 920 MHz band satellite IoT platform using satellite MIMO technology
  • SDRX by 🇯🇵NEC Space Technologies: A tech demo of a high-speed flexible software receiver using a signal processing board with COTS parts
  • GEMINI by 🇯🇵Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO): A tech demo of a commercial GPU 
  • KIR by 🇯🇵PaleBlue: A tech demo of a micro propulsion system using water as propellant
  • TMU-PPT by 🇯🇵Advanced Technology Institute: A tech demo of Pulse-Plasma Thruster
  • D-SAIL by 🇯🇵Axelspace Corporation: An in-orbit demonstration of a deployable membrane deorbiting mechanism to increase atmospheric drag and orbital decay rate
  • HELIOS by 🇯🇵Sakase Adtech: A tech-demo of a lightweight deployable membrane structure with power generation and antenna functions. [Space.com]


‘To The Black’ mission payloads were placed in a lower orbit than planned and reentered within several days. The 🇺🇸FireFly’s launch carried these payloads: 

  • Serenity 2: Made by the organization 🇺🇸Teachers in Space
  • TechEdSat-15: A collaboration between 🇺🇸NASA and 🇺🇸San Jose State University in California
  • A PicoBus deployer carrying five picosats: Genesis-L & Genesis-N by 🇪🇸AMSAT, Qubik-1 and Qubik-2 by 🇬🇷Libre Space and FossaSat-1B by 🇪🇸Fossa Systems. [SpaceNews]


🇬🇧Skyrora’s first launch attempt of its suborbital Skylark L rocket from 🇮🇸Iceland fails. Their first-ever vertical orbital launch is scheduled for 2023 from the 🇬🇧United Kingdom. [Space.com]


🇺🇸Amazon will launch its first two satellite prototypes for Project Kuiper next year aboard a Vulcan rocket by 🇺🇸United Launch Alliance. ABL was originally booked to deploy Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2 on its new RS1 rocket. [WashingtonPost]



🇫🇷Arianespace and 🇮🇹SAB signed a multi-year framework agreement for the use of end-to-end services for nanosatellites that is scheduled for launch with Arianespace missions. [SpacewatchGlobal]


🇺🇸Spire Global signed a multi-launch agreement with 🇺🇸Virgin Orbit that will allow for Spire to utilize LauncherOne’s launch capabilities starting in 2023, as well as its space service businesses. [SatNews] [ParabolicArc]


The propulsion system developed by 🇦🇹PEAK Technology and 🇦🇺Valiant Space is  selected by 🇦🇺Space Machines Company for a rideshare mission onboard the 🇺🇸SpaceX Falcon 9 in 2023. [LinkedIn-PEAK Technology]


🇪🇸Pangea Aerospace completes its Preliminary Design Review of both the oxidizer and fuel turbopump systems of its aerospike engine ‘ARCOS’. [LinkedIn-Pangea Aerospace]



🇳🇴KSAT and 🇺🇸SpaceLink get contracted by 🇺🇸NASA in a deal worth $162,000 and $190,000, respectively, to perform research on direct-to-Earth and lunar space relay communications. [SpaceNews]


🇫🇷ExoTrail won two contracts (total amount TBA) from 🇫🇷CNES’s France 2030 investment plan (allocated funds are $969M) for ExoTrail to demonstrate the following in 2024 and 2025, respectively: 

  1. Its OTV can change a satellite’s altitude 
  2. Orbital transfer service space drops can be done by deploying a microsatellite [SpacewatchGlobal]



Check out Precious Payload Weekly Smallsat News: October 3 — 9