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UK Space Agency funds multiple space projects, a Chinese methane-fueled rocket reaches orbit during unsuccessful maiden launch, and GalaxEye raises $3.5M

Precious Payload’s Weekly Smallsat News:

December 12–18, 2022


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

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P.S. This is our last newsletter of 2022! Wishing you a joyous holiday, and a Happy New Year! 



Launch Updates

🇦🇺ATSpace and 🇦🇺Southern Launch scrapped their December 15 VS02 mission due to a leak, and now plan to launch the Kestrel I rocket from 🇦🇺Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on December 20. The VS03 mission will carry payloads by Asension and Southern Launch. [SpaceWatchGlobal]


🇺🇸RocketLab grounded its first U.S. launch, “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers,” and rescheduled it for today, December 19. [Space.com]


🇺🇸ABL has delayed its RS1 rocket launch from the 🇺🇸Pacific Spaceport Complex once again, with plans to now take off on January 9, 2023. [Space.com]


🇨🇳Landspace’s Zhuque-2 methane-fueled rocket demonstrated an unsuccessful maiden launch from 🇨🇳Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The rocket reached orbit despite experiencing second-stage engine failure. [ParabolicArc]



🇬🇧Arqit Quantum cancels plans to build quantum satellites, announcing that its QuantumCloud software technology has progressed and no longer needs its own in-space assets. [Via Satellite]


🇺🇸NanoAvionics to supply two of its MP42 smallsat buses to 🇩🇪Constellr for launch via an 🇩🇪Exolaunch CarboNIX separation system in 2024. [SpaceWatchGlobal]


🇯🇵NTT Data acquires 2.5% of 🇺🇸EOI Space, including rights to sell EOI satellite imagery in Japan. EOI is preparing to send the first Stingray satellite of its planned constellation into VLEO in 2024 on a Falcon 9 rideshare flight. [BusinessNews]


🇨🇦GHGSat partners with 🇳🇴KSAT to provide operations and control services for five gas-monitoring satellites in its constellation. [SatelliteEvolution]



🇮🇳GalaxEye lands $3.5M in funding to manufacture the world’s first satellite with both SAR and optical sensors, expected to launch in 2023. [LinkedIn] [BusinessToday]


🇺🇸Quantum Space raised $15M to develop QS-1, the first satellite of its planned constellation QuantumNet, to launch in 2024 and provide services in cislunar space. [ParabolicArc]


🇬🇧The UK Space Agency invests £2.7M in thirteen early-stage satellite launch projects in England, Scotland, and Wales under its new Launch UK Technology Investment Programme. The projects will be carried out by the below companies: [ParabolicArc]

  1. Space Prime (£17,000) – to demo recycling of advanced engineering materials  
  2. UKLSL (£26,000) – to make software that streamlines the process of applying for spaceflight licenses under 2021 Space Industry Regulations 
  3. Rocket Engineering (£50,000) – to study how to strengthen the use-case for commercial spaceflight, using the UK’s nuclear space power program
  4. European Astrotech (£54,000) – to build a propellant-loading cart to service satellites with electric propulsion systems 
  5. SmallSpark Space Systems (£76,000) – to develop a dual-firing mode propulsion system for their S4-SLV 
  6. Lúnasa (£216,000) – to reach the TRL of its reusable dual-stage spacecraft for in-space logistics and infrastructure services for smallsats
  7. Magdrive (£250,000) – for electric propulsion 
  8. Shetland Space Centre (£378,000) – to fund Project SkyReach to build a rocket launch rail for sub-orbital launches, giving rocket launch providers the ability to test components of their vehicles in advance of an orbital launch 
  9. HyImpulsea (£399,000) – to create a motor test program and implement design improvements for an advanced hybrid rocket, which will power the company’s sub-orbital and orbital launch vehicles 
  10. Gravitilab Aerospace Service Ltd (£400,000) – to develop its suborbital launch vehicle, ISAAC
  11. AltaRange, Ltd (£400,000) – to run simulated tests of its telemetry, tracking, and termination system at lower costs
  12. Discover Space (£227,000) – to work with the University of Glasgow to develop the MachLab propulsion and space research laboratory, which will offer testing capabilities of earth-storable and cryogenic rocket engines of up to 10kN
  13. TISICS Metal Composites (£123,000) – to develop launcher components that disintegrate during re-entry, eliminating space debris. 


🇮🇱ArrowSpot gets contracted by 🇨🇭Astrocast for mass production of its ArrowTrack SAT device, including hardware integration and SatIoT connectivity, for an initial three-year period. [SatelliteEvolution]


Luxembourg-based 🇱🇺NewSpace Capital closed its first space-focused growth fund at €105M, and is investing €15M in 🇫🇷Cailabs, a French deep-tech company that aims to enable revolutionary photonic solutions for industrial and communication applications. [Via Satellite]



Check out Precious Payload’s Weekly Smallsat News: December 5–11, 2022