Astranis Moves Launch of First Commercial Satellite to Falcon Heavy

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission launches from Launch Complex 39A, Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

Satellite will launch directly to geostationary orbit, meaning broadband internet service will come online months faster for underserved areas of Alaska

SAN FRANCISCO (Astranis PR) — Astranis announced today that its first commercial communications satellite, set to provide service for Alaska from geostationary orbit, will now launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on a direct-inject mission set for Spring 2022. The mission profile will allow the spacecraft to arrive at its orbital slot within days of launch and removes the need for a multiple-month orbit raise from a highly-elliptical geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

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Anuvu Announces High Performance MicroGEO Satellite Constellation in Partnership with Astranis

  • Anuvu Announces High Performance MicroGEO Satellite Constellation
  • Partnership with Astranis delivers a new approach to satellite connectivity for mobility markets

LOS ANGELES., July 27, 2021 (Anuvu PR) — Anuvu, the leading provider of high-speed connectivity and entertainment solutions for demanding worldwide mobility markets, will launch the first Anuvu Constellation in partnership with next-generation satellite manufacturer Astranis. Anuvu and Silicon Valley-based Astranis are targeting launch for the first two MicroGEO High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in early 2023, with six more to follow.

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Astranis has Started Building its Next Four Small Geostationary Communications Satellites for New Customers

Artist’s concept of twin Astranis satellites providing service from GEO. (Credit: Astranis)

Orders placed with aerospace suppliers for more than $30M of components

SAN FRANCISCO (Astranis PR) — Astranis announced today that it has started to build four new small geostationary communications satellites, three of which are already spoken for under signed deals with new, yet-to-be-announced customers. To kick off the manufacturing of these four satellites, Astranis has placed orders with many of its major component suppliers, committing over $30 million to start procuring long-lead hardware, confirm delivery dates, and accelerate timelines. The list of suppliers includes trusted aerospace vendors L3 Harris Technologies, RUAG Schweiz AG, Aitech Systems, Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace AS, and Moog, Inc.

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ArianeGroup wins ESA’s “ASTRIS” Competition for More Versatile Ariane 6

Astris kick stage for Ariane 6. (Credit: ArianeGroup)
  • In the framework of the Ariane 6 Competitiveness Improvement Programme, the European Space Agency has appointed ArianeGroup as prime contractor for the development of a complementary stage for Ariane 6, the “ASTRIS” kickstage.
  • ArianeGroup development activities are worth €90 million [US $106.2 million]
  • Developed by ArianeGroup in Germany, ASTRIS is a true additional stage, called a “kick-stage”, that will further increase the versatility of Ariane 6 and enhance performance for new types of mission
  • Powered by the BERTA engine with storable propellants, ASTRIS will increase the capability to inject satellites directly into geostationary orbit (GEO), allow electrically-powered satellites to reach their orbits in a few hours instead of in a few months, and facilitate missions to the Moon and deep space
  • The first Ariane 6 mission equipped with the ASTRIS kick-stage is scheduled for 2024

BREMEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA), as part of its Ariane 6 Competitiveness Improvement Program, has chosen ArianeGroup to develop and build a complementary stage (kick-stage) for Ariane 6, called ASTRIS, which will enable Arianespace, operator of the new European launcher to place with even greater efficiency a larger number of payloads in different orbits, or to inject satellites into geostationary orbit (GEO).

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Astranis Raise $250 Million Series C Financing Round

Astranis engineers load their small communications satellite into a thermal-vacuum shroud. (Credit: Astranis)

SAN FRANCISCO (Astranis PR)–Astranis, the company building the next generation of telecommunication satellites, today announced a $250 million Series C financing round, valuing the company at $1.4 billion.

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Astranis Announces Former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin as Key Advisor, Clears Critical Design Review for Alaska Satellite

Dan Goldin

SAN FRANCISCO (Astranis PR)–Microsatellite developer Astranis announced today that former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin will be joining as a senior advisor to the company and chairing its new Technical Advisory Board.

In addition, the company is announcing the completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) for their first commercial program, a satellite for Pacific Dataport Inc. in Alaska. The CDR was completed under the supervision of Goldin with the participation of some of the space industry’s most experienced technical minds.

Administrator Goldin was the longest-serving NASA Administrator in NASA’s storied history, serving under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. During his tenure he oversaw the Mars Pathfinder and the use of a “contact lens” to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. He personally developed the conceptual design of the James Webb Space Telescope, and oversaw the design, development, and initial deployment of the International Space Station. “I am joining Astranis because this is a transformational approach to satellite telecommunications,” said Goldin.

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Astranis Passes Major Technical Milestone for MicroGEO Product Line

Astranis engineers load their small communications satellite into a thermal-vacuum shroud. (Credit: Astranis)

SAN FRANCISCO (Astranis PR) — Microsatellite developer Astranis has successfully concluded thermal-vacuum testing of a qualification vehicle developed for their MicroGEO product line of small communication satellites.

This critical test validates the technology’s ability to operate in the harsh environment of space and marks a major milestone on the path to delivering low-cost broadband internet to underserved populations around the world, starting with Astranis’s first commercial satellite that will provide broadband internet in Alaska.

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Astranis Raises $90 Million Round Led by Venrock

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2020 (Astranis PR) — Astranis, the company building the next generation of telecommunication satellites, today announced a $90 million financing round to launch its first commercial satellite and build the foundation for the internet infrastructure of the future. The round was led by Venrock, with significant participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.

Astranis aims to solve a problem in the modern space race that hasn’t been cracked: bringing the next four billion people online with low-cost, reliable internet. The $120 billion market is growing quickly – demand for internet is rising 40% per year, every year – but until now, there has been no practical, cost-effective solution for bringing internet access to remote parts of the world. Astranis is singularly focused on solving this problem.

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Astranis, NanoRacks Team to Offer CubeSat Launch to SEDS

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 1, 2018 (Astranis/NanoRacks PR) — Satellite telecommunications company Astranis Space Technologies Corp., in partnership with NanoRacks, a leading provider of commercial access to space, is donating a 1U CubeSat launch to Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA (SEDS-USA) to kick off the SEDS SAT-2 competition next month.

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Astranis Selects Bradford’s ECAPS thrusters

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Bradford PR) — Astranis (www.astranis.com), the San Francisco-based company building the next generation of telecommunications satellites, announced today the selection of Bradford’s (www.bradford-space.com) high performance green ECAPS propulsion for the Astranis MicroGEO spacecraft. The selection slates the integration of eight ECAPS thrusters aboard each Astranis spacecraft, with an initial order for up to twelve spacecraft. The selection also included Electrical Propulsion (EP) feed systems and a set of 8 CoSine Sun Sensors, all produced by the Bradford Space group, involving both the Netherlands and Swedish locations.

This announcement marks the introduction of the ECAPS (www.ecaps.space) propulsion system to geostationary orbit activities, a domain typically dominated by very large telecommunications satellites needing long duration station-keeping capabilities. Traditionally, these satellites have used hydrazine-based thrusters, which are expensive to handle in the loading and pre-launch phase of a spacecraft’s preparation.

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First Quarter Commercial Space Investment Reached Nearly $1 Billion

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with a Dragon resupply ship on April 2, 2018. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX received $500 million of the nearly $1 billion in investment raised by commercial space companies during the first quarter of 2018, according to the Space Investment Quarterly report from Space Angels.

“SpaceX shows no signs of slowing down—after the inaugural flight of the Falcon Heavy, the company secured $500 million from Fidelity Investments to drive development of their satellite communications network, Starlink,” the report added.

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New Company Emerges in Satellite Internet Race

Another company has emerged that is aiming to provide satellite Internet to under served areas, Tech Crunch reports.

Launching from stealth today with a fresh $13.5 million investment led by Andreessen Horowitz is Astranis — the developer of a novel satellite technology that aims to transmit data down to specific terrestrial locations with each satellite it launches.

That’s a significant shift from the way companies like SpaceX and OneWeb are building their satellite networks. Both of those companies are launching satellites into low earth orbit — which means that their satellites orbit the earth every ninety minutes.

For those companies to provide the kind of uninterrupted connectivity that consumers demand, they’d need to have a network of hundreds — if not thousands — of satellites in place to have a fully operational network.

Astranis is planning to launch its satellites into geostationary orbit — farther from the earth and in a location that will remain fixed… which means its satellites can provide connectivity almost immediately after launch.

Read the full story.











Matthew Isakowitz

Matthew Isakowitz

Some very sad news to report. Matthew Isakowitz passed away on May 25. He was 29.

Matthew served as associate director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) for three years after graduating from Princeton University in 2009. While an undergraduate, he worked for two months at SpaceX on the Dragon spacecraft.

After leaving CSF, Matthew worked at the asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources. More recently, he was working at Astranis, a startup focused on building small, low-cost telecommunications satellites that would deliver Internet connectivity to areas of Earth not currently being served.

Matthew was the son of Steve Isakowitz, who is president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation. He is survived by his mother, Monica, and three sisters: Jennifer, Rachel, and Sophie.

Future Space Leaders is collecting donations for a “to-be-announced initiative that will further Matthew’s legacy in the field of human space exploration.”

Matthew’s Obituary

Editor’s Note: My deepest sympathies to Matthew’s family for their loss. It’s terrible to lose someone so young. His contributions to advancing space exploration will not be forgotten.

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