Exolaunch was recently awarded a government contract under the Small Satellite Initiative run by the German Space Agency at DLR on behalf of the German Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).
This novel initiative, aimed at providing wide-ranging launch opportunities for smallsats and payload manufacturers on European microlaunchers, marks a significant milestone in the fast-growing German commercial space industry. Under the terms of the contract valued at close to €18 million, Exolaunch will coordinate and execute a broad and comprehensive range of launch services for the winners of the DLR competitions for small satellites and payload developers in 2023.
Exolaunch is responsible for more than 80 percent of Germany’s successful smallsat launches over the past decade, and has previously launched multiple DLR-funded missions. Among its lengthy roster of German clients are commercial customers, such as Berlin Space Technologies, constellr, Vyoma and OroraTech; research institutions such as the Zentrum für Telematik, Würzburg University, Fraunhofer Society, University of Stuttgart, Jena University, and the Technical University of Berlin.
As part of the agreement, Exolaunch will undertake crucial tasks integral to project success, including procurement of small satellite platforms for payloads, coordination of launch opportunities on European microlaunchers, and providing key technical guidance to the satellite and payload manufacturers. In addition, Exolaunch will oversee qualification tests, compatibility analyses, and in-house manufacturing of its flight-proven, microsatellite separation systems and cubesat deployers: the CarboNIX and EXOpod Nova. Additionally, Exolaunch is set to provide training sessions for the DLR, with a specific focus on the procurement of launch opportunities for small satellites.
“The competition benefits start-ups and SMEs in particular and thus also implements the important New Space focus of the space strategy. We see the competitions as a catalyst and trailblazer for the commercialization of space activities in Germany and Europe,” said Dr Walther Pelzer, DLR Executive Board Member and Director General of the German Space Agency at DLR. “By commissioning Exolaunch GmbH, we are now taking the next important step towards launch.”
Exolaunch’s chief executive officer, Dmitriy Sternharz, said, “We are honored to have been chosen by the German Space Agency at DLR for the Small Satellite Launch Services contract and proud to contribute to the evolution of New Space in Germany. At Exolaunch, we embrace the challenge of delivering reliable launch solutions and are prepared to bring our legacy of expertise to this partnership. The awarded contract not only emphasizes the trust placed in Exolaunch by one of Europe’s foremost space agencies, but also reinforces our commitment to advancing Germany’s small satellite missions, specifically on microlaunchers, and the critical role we play in shaping the future of space exploration. We hope that this contract will prove to be yet another important step towards strengthening our position as a partner of the DLR for small satellite launch services and mission management and further expanding our relationship for the benefit of both of our organizations as well as the German, European, and global space industries as a whole.”
This contract underscores Exolaunch’s status as one of the leading European and global space launch industry players, its proven success in advancing European small satellite missions, and highlights the Berlin-based company’s proven expertise in delivering reliable launch and deployment solutions.