Spaceflight Offers Rideshare Launches to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit

Partnership with SSL reflects growing need for frequent, affordable access to GTO/GSO; SpaceIL’s Israeli Lunar lander secures ride on first rideshare mission

Paris – September 11, 2018 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, announced today at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week conference that it has procured upcoming launches to Geosynchronous Orbit – a popular destination for communications satellites. The company anticipates offering rideshare opportunities to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) approximately every 12-18 months, or as customer demand requires.

The first mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 which was procured by SSL, a Maxar Technologies company. It will represent the two companies’ first combined launch and Spaceflight’s first mission beyond Lower Earth Orbit (LEO).

“We’re focused on getting our customers’ spacecraft into orbit in the most expeditious, cost-effective manner possible,” said Curt Blake, president of Spaceflight. “The rideshare model is beneficial to everyone; the primary spacecraft as well as all the secondaries pay less than if they contracted to launch individually. In addition, working with a reliable partner like SSL to fulfill our first GTO mission increases our ability to service this growing destination. We’re looking forward to making GTO a routine and affordable destination for our clients.”

The manifest for this Falcon 9 GTO rideshare mission is completely full. It features several undisclosed payloads along with an unmanned lunar spacecraft from SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization that was competing in the Google Lunar XPrize to land a spacecraft on the Moon. The first rideshare satellites will separate in GTO and then the SSL host spacecraft will continue on to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) where the remaining rideshare satellites will be separated.

“Spaceflight has taken an innovative approach to aggregating launches and bringing a more cost-effective launch model to the industry as a result,” said David Bernstein, senior vice president of program management at SSL. “Working as a team with Spaceflight and SpaceX, we are enabling a unique mission that ultimately accomplishes a translunar injection, prior to dropping off other payloads on our way to geostationary orbit for the primary communications satellite.”

About Spaceflight

Spaceflight is revolutionizing the business of spaceflight by delivering a new model for accessing space. A comprehensive launch services and mission management provider, the company provides a straightforward and cost-effective suite of products and services including state-of-the-art satellite infrastructure and rideshare launch offerings that enable commercial and government entities to achieve their mission goals on time and on budget. A service offering of Spaceflight Industries in Seattle, Wash., Spaceflight provides its services through a global network of partners, ground stations and launch vehicle providers. For more information, visit http://www.spaceflight.com.

About SSL

SSL, based in Palo Alto, California, is a leading provider of advanced spacecraft systems, with broad expertise to support commercial and government satellite operators and innovative space missions. The company designs and manufactures spacecraft for services such as direct-to-home television, video content distribution, broadband internet, mobile communications, in-orbit servicing, space exploration, and Earth observation. As a Silicon Valley innovator for 60 years, SSL’s advanced product line includes state-of-the-art small satellites, and sophisticated robotics and autonomous solutions for remote operations. SSL is a Maxar Technologies company (NYSE: MAXR; TSX: MAXR). For more information, visit www.sslmda.com.

  • envy

    This launch (with SpaceIL’s lander) is NET December.

  • SamuelRoman13

    I hope they make the Moon landing. Sometime F9 goes beyond GEO, so a little kick to the Moon it goes. Lately though F9 has been going short so as to have enough fuel to land the 1st stage and the sat uses its’ own motor. Spaceflight said, I read, that they wanted to find a cheaper launcher, that F9 costs 60m$. I think they should call sales at N-G and see if a single segment RSRM would be a good deal. It weighs 440,000lbs and starts at 900,000lbs thrust. It looks to me that with about 450,000lbs available, a 2nd stage and payload should work nice. Maybe a big discount since it would be the 1st launch of that vehicle.
    I have posted a comment long ago that a steel segment SRM should be cheap and easy to build. I just ran into how thick(.5″) the walls are. So use rollers to make sections and weld them together. That is not the way they were made. A spec sheet I found from ATK said that they were forged not welded. A supplier roughs machines them and ATK fine machines them.

  • envy

    Solids are cheap but very inefficient. Even with a Centaur upper stage (which adds some $40 million to the cost), a single RSRM segment booster could only put ~900 kg into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), far less than Spaceflight is looking for.

    The base intermediate Omega rocket, with a 2-segment booster, 1 segment 2nd stage, and a hydrogen 3rd stage (similar to Delta IV’s upper stage) only puts about 4900 kg to GTO. F9 can easily beat that with only 2 stages, no hydrogen, AND still land the booster.