Alba Orbital Inc. and SAB Launch Services S.r.l. (SAB LS) have signed an agreement to fly six AlbaPod pico-satellite deployers, and respective PocketQubes, on Arianespace Vega missions VV25 and VV26. This agreement facilitates the first ever PocketQube launch from Europe, using Arianespace’s Vega launch vehicle to deliver them to orbit.
PocketQubes are the world’s smallest commercial satellites, measuring at 5x5x5 cm. with a mass of 250 g. per unit — no bigger than a rubik’s cube. These tiny satellites are bringing down the barriers to space access, as their small form factor facilitates more affordable launches for smaller organisations compared to cubesats.
Italy-based SAB is part of SAB Group and provides launch services on European launchers, including Vega and Vega C multi-payload missions.
Alba Orbital continues to trailblaze in the field of pico-satellite engineering, having now become the world leading PocketQube rideshare company with the most PocketQube satellites on-orbit. The Y-Combinator backed company has successfully launched a total of 23 satellites to orbit over three missions with launch partners, SpaceX and Rocket Lab, including their own fleet of Earth imaging spacecraft.
The upcoming Vega launches will mark a significant milestone in European spaceflight history, as this will be the first time PocketQubes have launched from European soil.
SAB-LS has a leading position in the European launch service market dedicated to smallsats with four successful missions accomplished launching institutional as well as commercial smallsats from International customers.
This agreement comes after the success of the Vega C maiden flight. The partnership between SAB and Alba Orbital highlights the modularity of the SSMS Dispenser on Vega, which is a modular structure that can be seamlessly configured in order to be adapted to the specific satellite aggregate. With the SSMS dispenser, clients have access to increased flexibility through a diverse launch schedule with multiple launch opportunities within a year, offering more orbits, different inclinations, and more.
The next Vega C missions are planned before the end of 2022. In early 2023, the first Vega C rideshare mission with the SSMS Dispenser will be launched, hosting a vast aggregate of smallsats and cubesats.
“We’ve witnessed the demand for PocketQube launches skyrocket after every successful mission we’ve flown”, said Tom Walkinshaw, CEO and Founder of Alba Orbital. “We’re thrilled to be working with SAB on VV25 and VV26 Vega missions, accelerating our launch cadence to provide a reliable quarterly flight schedule for our rideshare customers.”
“We are stoked to be providing the launch for the first pocket cube deployer ever to be launched on Vega”, said Marco Mariani, CEO of SAB Launch Services. “For us, Alba Orbital is becoming a strategic partner, with a significant number of hardware on multiple launches. This launch highlights the flexibility of our end-to-end launch services and positions SAB in the forefront of a market populated by increasing numbers of smallsats and microsats.”
Alba Orbital (UK, USA, Germany) is the world’s leading PocketQube satellite manufacturer and launch broker. Alba is a vertically integrated NewSpace company ‘democratizing access to space’, providing turnkey solutions from advanced pico-satellite platforms, low-cost launch opportunities, and ground station services. Alba has worked with over 30 customers across three continents, including prestigious clients such as Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and TU Delft.
SAB Launch Services S.r.l. (SAB-LS) is a company that is part of SAB group and offers launch services on European Launchers for all varities of smallsats. SAB-LS offers “end to end” services including launch procurement, separation system procurement, integration activities of the satellite on the launch vehicle structure, pre- and post-launch support. Due to the flexible and direct access to launch capacity afforded by the SAB-LS partnership with Arianespace, SAB-LS is the key European firm serving smallsat customers looking to launch on European vehicles.