D-Orbit has successfully completed the deployment phase of the ORIGIN mission, the first for the ION Satellite Carrier.
ION, D-Orbit’s satellite platform, successfully released 12 SuperDove satellites for Earth-imaging company Planet into the precise orbital slots requested by the client.
The vehicle has been operational since September 3rd, when it was successfully released from an Arianespace VEGA launcher. On September 25th, it successfully released the first SuperDove satellite of the batch, and the last satellite was deployed on October 28th, at 10:38:46 UTC.
The mission, named Origin, is the first commercial flight of ION Satellite Carrier, a deployer designed, manufactured, and operated by D-Orbit. Once in orbit, ION’s ability to perform orbital maneuvers, like change of altitude and true anomaly phasing, allows this first version of the carrier to quickly release hosted satellites into precise and independent orbital slots, enabling customers to start their missions sooner and in optimal operational conditions.
ION’s deployment strategy delivers a full and fast phasing of the hosted satellites, allowing them to be equally spaced along the orbital plane in up to 85% less time with respect to standard practices, faster signal acquisition, and a stable collision-free formation, which ultimately translates to a shorter time to revenues; this, together with longer operational lifetime for spacecraft, can lead to up to 40% overall savings in launching and operating a constellation.
D-Orbit is debriefing the mission in preparation for the launch of ION SCV LAURENTIUS, the second flight of ION Satellite Carrier upgraded version, slated for December 2020.
“When we heard confirmation of the successful release of the last satellite, the entire mission control team erupted in a spontaneous celebration,” said Renato Panesi, CCO of D-Orbit. “Our team has been working tremendously hard on this mission, and they deserve great credit for this achievement.”
“It’s been great working with D-Orbit on this mission,” said Mike Safyan, VP of Launch & Regulatory Affairs at Planet. “We’ve been very pleased with the performance of the ION Satellite Carrier and look forward to future launches together.”
“This is an historic day,” said Luca Rossettini, D-Orbit’s CEO. “For the first time, a cargo satellite has successfully deployed a dozen Earth Observation satellites into their operational position. This orbital logistic service, first of its kind, opens the door to a new satellite infrastructure that enables operators to optimize their space assets, test new business models, and create more value for our society.”