Satellite operator Prométhée has contracted mission integrator NanoAvionics to build the first smallsat for the French company’s planned constellation of Earth Observation (EO) smallsats and image analysis platform. “ProtoMéthée-1” will be based on NanoAvionics’ flight-proven 16U nanosatellite bus, M16P.
In addition to the satellite with onboard camera and propulsion, NanoAvionics will also provide Prométhée with full mission services – testing, integration, launch, licensing, and initial satellite operations. The “ProtoMéthée-1” satellite is intended to be launched toward the end of 2023 into LEO. The company’s service demonstrator will be based on a high revisit rate constellation (20 times more passes per day) and offering hyper-reactivity through inter-constellation connectivity.
The aim of France’s Prométhée, located in Paris and Toulouse, is to bring less expensive space applications to emerging countries, in particular to Latin America and Africa. The company recently raised 4.7 million euros after a first fundraising in September of 2020 of 2.2 million euros that was achieved through business angels, financials and three companies specialized in the space industry, Hemeria, Comat and ADF.
The possible applications resulting from Prométhée’s satellite data and digital platform range from forest fire detection to water management, food security, urban planning, desertification control, crisis management, critical infrastructure protection and defence.
Olivier Piepsz, president of Prométhée, said, “NanoAvionics is one of the most innovative European space companies with an excellent flight heritage. Leaving the manufacturing of our first satellite as well as launch services and operations in their capable hands, Prométhée will soon become France’s leading NewSpace operator for Earth Observation. It is our intention to keep innovating through new space explorations and new uses, while at the same time strengthening France’s resilience through space and digital sovereignty among the space fairing nations.”
Vytenis J. Buzas, CEO, NanoAvionics, said, “The French NewSpace market, based on the country’s space heritage and bold space technology development policies is one of the most active in the world. We are proud to be supplying small satellite technologies to household names, such as Thales Alenia Space, as well as partnering with promising and rising stars such as Prométhée, Gama Space, and ExoTrail among others. The recent mission contract with Prométhée shows our continued fast-paced business growth and further advancement into the French market. In line with our existing engagement with French NewSpace companies, growing the business and to further improve our customer service, we will be exploring different opportunities to establish a NanoAvionics base in the country. 2022 has already been another exciting year for NanoAvionics and the remaining months are looking very promising. Following the six satellite launches on Transporter-3 and 4 including our MP42, one of the first commercially available modular microsatellite buses in the industry, we intend to launch nine more satellites this year and will be announcing more new mission contracts in the coming months.”