Exolaunch Delivers One Ton of Small Satellites into Orbit on SpaceX’s Transporter-2 Rideshare Mission

Falcon 9 launches the Transporter-2 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 30, 2021 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, the launch, deployment and integration services provider for the New Space industry, announced a successful launch of 29 satellites totaling one metric ton for its customers from the United States, South America and Europe on a dedicated rideshare mission of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program. The mission, named ‘Fingerspitzengefühl’, lifted off on June 30 at 19:31 UTC on Falcon 9 ‘Transporter-2’, completing one of the largest and most diverse rideshare missions for Exolaunch. With this launch, Exolaunch has flown 170 small satellites on multiple launch vehicles.

Exolaunch’s small satellite cluster includes 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.

Fingerspitzengefühl is Exolaunch’s 13th rideshare mission. It is also the second in a series of rideshares Exolaunch is manifesting on Falcon 9 as part of a Multi-Launch Agreement the company signed with SpaceX in 2020. On SpaceX’s first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission Transporter-1 earlier this year Exolaunch launched 30 contracted satellites. For every Falcon 9 launch procured through the Multi-Launch Agreement with SpaceX, Exolaunch ensures comprehensive rideshare mission management, satellite integration and deployment services for its customers.

Fingerspitzengefühl’ symbolizes Exolaunch’s vast experience in successfully deploying customers’ satellites into orbit, inherent to Exolaunch ingenuity and mastery that the company has demonstrated once more. It’s also a continuation of the individual mission names that started with ‘Zeitgeist’, literally ‘Spirit of the Time’, Exolaunch’s previous rideshare launch aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 in January 2021.

“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!”

To maximize payload capacity and cost-effectiveness for the customers of this mission, Exolaunch used its recent product addition, EXOport, a flexible multi-satellite adapter designed to optimally accommodate microsatellites and cubesats on a single Falcon 9 ESPA port. The company also utilized its proprietary flight-proven separation systems – CarboNIX, the next generation shock-free separation system for microsatellites, and the EXOpod, Exolaunch’s upgraded cubesat deployer with half a decade of flight heritage, to flawlessly deploy the customers’ satellites into the target sun-synchronous orbit above 500 km.

“We are thrilled to be expanding Exolaunch’s presence to U.S. soil. This move allows us to provide tailored launch and deployment services to all our customers launching from the U.S., ensuring that we meet all of their mission needs,” said Kier Fortier, Director of Launch at Exolaunch U.S. “This is our second SpaceX Transporter mission to date, and we look forward to continuing to build upon the strong partnership between the companies so that we can offer smallsat developers the most cost-effective, flexible, and reliable rides to orbit.”

Exolaunch has manifested the following satellites on the Transporter-2 mission:

  • 4 x ICEYE satellites: Four more satellites of an advanced radar imaging satellite constellation built and operated by ICEYE. ICEYE’s constellation represents the world’s first small SAR satellite constellation and the largest fleet of SAR satellites in the world. ICEYE’s SAR satellite constellation provides different angle imaging multiple times a day for specified areas of interest. It is constantly growing and will provide previously unavailable imaging capabilities and access, allowing quick tactical acquisitions as well as very frequent global revisit rates.
  • 2 x Spire Global Inc.’s LEMUR-class satellites: 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 satellite: The YAM-3 (‘Yet Another Mission’-3) microsatellite carries various payloads for Loft Orbital’s 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 Orbital offers its customers end-to-end services and delivery of missions to 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: NanoAvionics’high-performance nanosatellite rideshare mission with 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: Supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), a university satellite mission has an objective to demonstrate novel Earth remote sensing technologies for nanosatellites. Following the TechnoSat mission, TUBIN (Technische Universität Berlin Infrared Nanosatellite) is the second satellite to be based on the TUBiX20 satellite platform of the Technical University Berlin. The mission’s objectives are the development and testing of a payload for remote sensing in thermal infrared using bolometer technology, as well as further development and production of an adaptive nanosatellite platform TUBiX20 as part of a technology testing mission. In addition to this, the mission targets the development and testing of a high-precision attitude determination and control system, as well as the evaluation of the payload data on board the satellite.
  • 4 x Satellogic NewSat satellites: Four commercial Earth observation satellites of a NewSat series (named after pioneering women in STEM: Rosalind Franklin, Grace Hopper, Elisa Bachofen, and Sofya Kovalevskaya) are 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. Additionally, Satellogic’s expanded capacity will deliver increased revisit capabilities, with up to 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.
  • And sixteen other US nanosatellites.

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch (Germany, USA) provides launch, in-space logistics, deployment and mission management services for New Space actors. With 170 satellites deployed to date across different launch vehicles, Exolaunch has an industry insight it can leverage to develop solutions tailored towards meeting customer needs and addressing market trends. Exolaunch executes launch contracts for New Space leaders, the world’s most innovative startups, research institutions, government organizations, and space agencies. The company manufactures flight-proven separation systems to deliver the best-in-class integration and deployment services for small satellites, and is developing a line of space tugs to provide last-mile delivery services and remove space debris.

For more information, visit: www.exolaunch.com