One ton of European satellites launched into space

One ton of European satellites launched into space

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The Fingerspitzengefühl satellite mission on the Falcon 9 ‘Transporter-2’ yesterday included payloads with cutting-edge technologies for IoT, Earth Observation and scientific applications, and satellites from its international customers such as Spire Global, Iceye, Loft Orbital, NanoAvionics, and Technical University of Berlin.

Exolaunch has also provided flight hardware, separation systems and integration services to support Satellogic’s four microsatellites on this mission.

With this launch, Exolaunch has flown 170 small satellites on multiple launch vehicles. Fingerspitzengefühl is Exolaunch’s 13th rideshare mission and the second on Falcon 9 as part of a Multi-Launch Agreement the company signed with SpaceX in 2020.

Exolaunch used its new multi-satellite adapter designed to optimally accommodate microsatellites and cubesats on a single Falcon 9 ESPA port. The company also used its proprietary flight-proven separation systems – CarboNIX, the next generation shock-free separation system for microsatellites, and the EXOpod, Exolaunch’s upgraded cubesat deployer.

The launch included two LEMUR-class satellites for Spire Global. The Low Earth Multi-Use Receiver (LEMUR) is Spire’s cubesat platform used to track maritime, aviation, and weather activity from space. Each satellite is equipped with multiple sensors, capable of capturing data day and night and during extreme weather conditions. Spire leverages its constellation to deliver proprietary data, insights, and predictive analytics to its global commercial and government customers.

Loft Orbital’s YAM-3 microsatellite carries various payloads for customers, including an Internet of Things payload, an onboard autonomy demonstration, a positioning and queuing demonstration and blockchain applications. Using a unique aggregation approach, Loft enables the payloads to work in orbit on a standardized satellite bus. Its customers provide payloads, sensors or experiments while also saving time and avoiding the complexity and costs of building their own spacecraft.

NanoAvionics’ D2/AtlaCom-1 satellite included hyperspectral imaging and communication payloads hosted onboard its M6P 6U nanosatellite bus. A key instrument of this mission is the “Mantis imager”, a hyperspectral camera for remote sensing developed by Dragonfly Aerospace. Responsible for processing the collected hyperspectral data and distributing it to interested parties around the world is Space JLTZ. Mission’s objectives are to perform a flight demonstration of the hyperspectral imaging and communication payloads, and to evaluate the market interest for hyperspectral imaging data captured and processed as part of the program.

TU Berlin’s TUBIN satellite is demonstrating novel infra red Earth remote sensing technologies for nanosatellites. TUBIN (Technische Universität Berlin Infrared Nanosatellite) is testing a payload for remote sensing in thermal infrared ​​using bolometer technology, as well as further development and production of an adaptive nanosatellite platform called TUBiX20 as part of a technology testing mission. This also includes testing of a high-precision attitude determination and control system, as well as the evaluation of the payload data on board the satellite.

Four Satellogic NewSat satellites were launched, named after pioneering women in STEM: Rosalind Franklin, Grace Hopper, Elisa Bachofen, and Sofya Kovalevskya. These have been added to the Aleph-1 constellation of high-resolution imaging satellites to provide real-time Earth imaging and video from space. A 0.7-meter resolution imagery allows to provide a more detailed view of the globe for more precise decision making. Satellogic’s expanded capacity allows four daily revisits of any point of interest, as well as complete remapping of any country every month and the collection of over 4 million sq. kilometers of high-resolution data every day.

“Our work with the New Space leaders is always dynamic and exciting, as they are constantly leveraging the latest technological innovations for their satellites and payloads. This requires sophisticated and flexible technological solutions and efficient mission architecture to make their journey to orbit pleasant and successful,” said Jeanne Medvedeva, Vice President of Launch Services at Exolaunch. “We are pleased to work under the Multi-Launch Agreement with SpaceX as an established partner shaping the unique launch infrastructure for our customers encompassing the needed flexibility and reliability of launch services. With the successful completion of the Fingerspitzengefühl mission on Transporter-2, Exolaunch readies for the next rideshare launch aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-3 at the end of 2021!”

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