On January 24th, 2021, at 4:00 pm CET, D-Orbit launched another ION Satellite Carrier atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Florida. On the same day, 1 hour 16 minutes and 28 seconds later, the vehicle was successfully deployed into a polar orbit.
The spacecraft, named ION SCV Laurentius, is an upgraded and enhanced version of the vehicle launched in the fall of 2020 which precisely deployed 12 satellites in orbit. ION Satellite Carrier is a space cargo designed to accommodate several satellites, transport them into space and release them precisely into independent orbits and orbital slots. ION’s integrated capabilities also enable the spacecraft to perform on-orbit demonstration (IOD) services for third-party hosted payloads.
During the mission, named PULSE, the vehicle will deploy 20 satellites, including 8 SuperDove satellites from Earth imaging company Planet Labs, and it will then perform the on-orbit demonstration of several payloads, including an optical instrument from EICAS Automazione and one from Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).
“In D-Orbit we focus on our customers’ success, no matter what it takes. We are the company with most heritage, reliability and results accomplished in the market in this business. It has been just two months since the historical success of our previous ION Satellite Carrier mission, and we are back in space already,” said Luca Rossettini, D-Orbit’s CEO. “We are already building the space logistics infrastructure enabling the next trillion-dollar space economy.”
One of the top five top companies in Europe operating in the new space market, D-Orbit is the first space logistics and transportation services provider in the industry. Headquartered in Italy, with subsidiaries in Portugal, UK and the US, the company’s vertical approach ranges from the production of subsystems and components to the manufacturing of a full cargo spacecraft, called ION, capable of transporting multiple payloads with a total mass up to hundreds of kilos, to the entire operations service via their proprietary mission control software platform. ION can transport a batch of satellites to space, release each one of them in independent orbital slots performing orbit-change maneuvers between each deployment, enabling satellite operators to deploy satellite constellations up to 80% faster than with other solutions on the market, at up to 40% lower costs with to respect the market average. ION also enables launch operators to maximize their payload capacity, reducing the number of maneuvers for rideshare missions and reducing the on-boarding complexities before launch. Committed to pursuing business models that are profitable, friendly for the environment, and socially beneficial, D-Orbit is the first certified B-Corp space company in the world.