Spaceflight Inc. will execute two launches on two different continents in a matter of weeks; one aboard a Rocket Lab Electron and the other on NewSpace India Limited’s (NSIL) PSLV — for both missions, Spaceflight arranged the launch and is providing mission management and rideshare integration services for its customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire.
The next mission, dubbed RL-5 by Spaceflight and ‘In Focus’ by Rocket Lab, will launch from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 at the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The launch window opens October 20 at 5:14pm ET.
Spaceflight is coordinating the launch of Canon Electronics Inc.’s CE-SAT-IIB, a technical demonstration microsatellite that will add to its Earth-imaging satellite constellation. The payload has three cameras onboard with different resolutions, fields of view and sensitivities, which will demonstrate its capabilities by taking images of the Earth. This is Canon Electronics’ second launch with Spaceflight.
Spaceflight’s next mission is slated to lift off on a PSLV-C49 rocket during the first half of November from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center, SDSC SHAR. It will carry four smallsats from Kleos Space and four from Spire.
The Kleos 6U satellites make up the company’s Scouting Mission, which will be foundational in its radio frequency monitoring constellation. The smallsats are the cornerstone of a 20-system constellation that will geolocate VHF transmissions from marine vessels to provide global activity-based intelligence data as a service.
Spaceflight also manifested four Spire Global Lemur-2 3U cubesats to add to its constellation of small, inexpensive satellites in operation for Earth observation, maritime monitoring, communications, meteorology and science.
In addition to the RL-5 and PSLV-C49 missions, Spaceflight is also preparing for the launch of SXRS-3 which will debut Sherpa-FX, its first orbital transfer vehicle (OTV). The SpaceX rideshare mission is scheduled for no earlier than December 2020 and will carry 16 spacecraft managed by Spaceflight. Sherpa-FX is the first in Spaceflight’s innovative Sherpa-NG (next generation) portfolio of vehicles to fly as the company delivers cost-effective, “last mile” service to its customers on orbit.
“We are thrilled that the launch date of the Kleos Scouting Mission is close at hand and that with a successful launch of PSLV-C49 we will be able to start to provide RF geolocation data products to our waiting global customer base,” said Andy Bowyer, CEO of Kleos Space. “From there we start the deployment of our constellation of Kleos satellites in the middle of 2021 with Spaceflight onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch.”
“We strive to be a comprehensive space transportation company continuously developing innovative solutions to go above and beyond to meet our customers’ — and the industry’s — evolving needs,” said Grant Bonin, senior VP of business development at Spaceflight. “The Sherpa-FX vehicle and our recent multi-launch agreements are prime examples of how we’re innovating to add more flexibility into our offerings. It allows us to get satellites where they need to be, when they need to be there, which is the ultimate goal.”
Since its founding, Spaceflight has launched more than 300 satellites and executed 32 rocket launches, establishing itself as the leading rideshare service provider. Spaceflight works with a large portfolio of launch vehicles, including Falcon 9, Antares, Electron, Vega, and PSLV and has recently expanded its global portfolio of launch vehicles to include NSIL’s SSLV, Relativity’s Terran 1 and Firefly’s Alpha, in order to best fulfill customers’ specific mission needs.