Exotrail’s in-orbit transport service spacedrop, has been selected via a competitive tender process to perform the first orbital logistics missions ordered by French institutions.
In a contract worth several million euros, Exotrail is the in-orbit logistics operator the French institutions have selected to ensure a capacity for satellites transfer into low Earth orbit (LEO).
In 2021, the French government announced a national investment and stimulus package (France 2030), which included 1 billion euros to support emerging French space companies. As part of this package, Exotrail and the French government Space Agency (CNES) will ink a two-mission contract.
The first mission, scheduled for 2024, will see Exotrail’s spacevan vehicle demonstrate its ability to change satellite altitude and plan in combined maneuvers — a game changer for small satellite constellation deployment. In a second mission scheduled for 2025, the company will transport a microsatellite from the launcher’s delivery point to its final orbit.
This landmark contract is another meaningful step towards establishing Exotrail as a worldwide space logistics leader and creates significant opportunities for commercial and institutional space transportation companies to leverage the remaining capacity of these missions.
Exotrail’s spacedrop service gives satellite operators the flexibility they need to get their satellites to their operational orbits. Exotrail offers an integrated service by procuring access to space, integrating the platform with customers satellites onboard and performing required operations in orbit. The spacedrop service will be inaugurated in October 2023 and the missions performed in the context of France 2030 will benefit from an upgraded version of the vehicle; notably an improved propulsion system and a platform offering a greater payload capacity.
This contract emphasizes the benefits of a holistic vision of space mobility. Exotrail’s spacedrop vehicle will be powered by Exotrail’s space proven high-thrust, flexible propulsion systems spaceware electric thrusters and orbital operations will be completed using its proprietary software solution, spacetower. Exotrail’s expertise in these two critical components gives its spacedrop service a clear edge on its competitors.
Jean-Luc Maria, Exotrail’s CEO stated, “We are honored to have been selected as part of the ambitious France 2030 plan, aimed at building next space leaders. This contract rewards Exotrail’s hardworking teams and the space logistics vision the company has pursued since its very foundation. It’s a crystal-clear message to our customers: spacedrop is the go-to service for operators looking for a high-capacity, flexible and competitive transfer solution in low, medium, geostationary orbits, and farther.”