Vega, Falcon 9 Rockets Set to Orbit More than 100 Satellites

Vega begins its ascent from the Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying Italy’s PRISMA Earth observation satellite on the third Arianespace mission of 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace’s Vega and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are set to launch a combined 113 satellites this week.

Vega is scheduled for launch on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 9:51:10 p.m. EDT (01:51:10 a.m. UTC on Sept. 2) from Kourou, French Guiana. You can view the launch on Arianespace’s YouTube channel.

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A Whole Bunch of Launches Scheduled — Again

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Bored beyond tears due to the lockdown? Got nothing to do and nowhere to go? Only reruns on the tube?

Stay home, grab some beers, and fire up that computer. There’s a whole bunch of launches on the schedule over the next four days. ULA, Rocket Lab, SpaceX, Astra and Arianespace are all back in action with six launches from three countries.

SpaceX will attempt two launches on the same day from Florida on Sunday. The company might also attempt a hop of its sixth Starship prototype this weekend. The timing for that is uncertain.

Remember: launches are subject to change without notice. And wagering is strictly prohibited.

August 29

UPDATE: The booster performed an abort at T minus 3 seconds. United Launch Alliance says it will be at least seven days before they can attempt another launch.

Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Payload: NROL-44
Launch Time: 2:04 a.m. EDT (0612 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com/

An United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch the classified NROL-44 satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

August 29/30

UPDATE: New Electron launch date is Aug. 30/31 with the same launch window.

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Mission Name: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical”
Payload: Sequoia
Launch Window: 11:05 p.m.-3:05 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29/30 (0305-0705 GMT on Aug. 29)
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Webcast: www.rocketlabusa.com

Rocket Lab is back in action after the failure of its 13th launch on July 4. Electron will carry the Capella Space’s Sequoia synthetic aperture radar satellite on a dedicated mission.

August 30

UPDATE: Launch scrubbed due to weather. Next possible launch window is on Tuesday.

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Starlink 11
Launch Time: 10:08 a.m. EDT (1408 GMT)
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

The 12th batch of approximately 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation.

August 30

UPDATE: Launch successful.

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: SAOCOM 1B
Launch Time: 7:19 p.m. EDT (2319 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

SpaceX will launch the SAOCOM 1B environmental satellite for Argentina’s space agency, CONAE. The mission includes the first polar orbit launch from Cape Canaveral since February 1969. The Falcon 9 first stage will attempt a relatively rare return to land instead of touching down on an offshore drone ship.

August 30/31

UPDATE: Astra has postponed the launch to Sept. 10 from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. EDT (7-9:30 p.m. PDT)

Launch Vehicle: Rocket 3.1
Payloads: None
Launch Window: 10:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EDT on Aug. 30/31 (0200-0430 GMT on Aug. 31
Launch Site: Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska
Webcast: none

Astra Space will attempt the first orbital flight of its inexpensive launch vehicle.

September 1/2

Launch Vehicle: Vega
Mission Name: Small Spacecraft Mission Service Proof of Concept (SSMS POF)
Payloads: 53 small satellites
Launch Time: 9:51:10 p.m. EDT on Sept. 1 (0151:10 GMT on Sept. 2)
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana
Webcast: Arianespace YouTube channel

Arianespace will attempt the first rideshare mission of its Vega booster. The window for the long delayed launch extends until Sept. 4.

SDL to Provide SmallSat Constellation for NASA Solar Mission

NORTH LOGAN, Utah, August 21, 2020 — The Space Dynamics Laboratory announced today that it has been awarded a contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to build six spacecraft for NASA’s Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment mission, known as SunRISE. The contract value was not disclosed.

SunRISE is led by principal investigator Justin Kasper at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and managed by JPL in Pasadena, California. It is scheduled to launch as a hosted rideshare with a commercial satellite in 2023.

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Kleos to Launch Second Satellite Cluster on SpaceX Falcon 9

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

LUXEMBOURG, 13 August 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service company, today announces that as part of the expansion of its constellation a contract has been signed with rideshare provider Spaceflight Inc to manifest a cluster of Kleos satellites on the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch, scheduled for mid-2021.

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Swarm Awards Launch Contract to Exolaunch to Deliver 24 SpaceBEE Satellites into Orbit on Falcon 9

Swarm satellite (Credit: Swarm Technologies)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., August 3rd, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a Berlin-based rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a launch agreement with Swarm Technologies, a Mountain View-based satellite company providing low-cost global connectivity for IoT devices, to launch 24 satellites aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission.

Under the contract, Exolaunch will provide launch, integration and deployment services to the Swarm satellites. The spacecraft will be launched to a sun-synchronous orbit on the Falcon 9 smallsat-dedicated rideshare mission targeted for launch in December 2020.6U CubeSat

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Spaceflight Inc. Reveals Launch Initiatives to Provide Greater Flexibility, Mitigate Delays, and Meet Specific Mission Needs

New orbital transfer vehicle, online booking site, mission management portal, all-in pricing, and spacecraft tracking among new programs  

SEATTLE, Aug. 3, 2020 (Spaceflight Inc. PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced, during the opening of Small Satellite Conference 2020, it is providing an array of new sweeping programs to deliver launch schedule assurance and greater flexibility to smallsat customers needing frequent, reliable, and cost-effective ways to get spacecraft on orbit. 

“One thing we’ve learned about launching smallsats over the past 10 years is that there is a growing requirement for flexibility in everything from contracting to switching vehicles, orbital destinations, booking options, and integration services,” said Curt Blake, president and CEO of Spaceflight. “With our expertise working with all major launch vehicles, we have the unique advantage of building flexibility into all aspects of our business to meet our customers’  individual mission needs. It’s foundational to our vision of getting spacecraft on orbit exactly when and where our customers want, and we’re excited to unveil several first-of-their-kind programs to support it.” 

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Spaceflight Inc. Unveils Next-Gen Orbital Transfer Vehicle to Fly Aboard Next SpaceX Rideshare Mission

Sherpa-FX transfer vehicle (Credit: Spaceflight)

SEATTLE, July 15, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, announced today that it will be flying its next generation orbital transfer vehicle, Sherpa-FX, on a fully dedicated rideshare mission with SpaceX. The mission, called SXRS-3 by Spaceflight, is scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 no earlier than December 2020. Spaceflight has contracted 16 spacecraft for this mission from organizations including iQPS, Loft Orbital, HawkEye 360, NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program, Astrocast, and the University of South Florida Institute of Applied Engineering.

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Space BD to Provide Small Satellite Deployment Service from ISS for Myanmar’s Sirst Micro-satellite

TOKYO (Space BD PR) — Space BD Inc., the leading  space startup in Japan that provides access to  space  using the International Space Station Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” and rideshares on Japan’s flagship launch vehicle “H3,” announced that it has been selected by Hokkaido University, Tohoku University, and the Myanmar Aerospace and Engineering University as the satellite deployment service provider for the Micro-satellite development project of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

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Exolaunch & NanoAvionics Sign Two Launch Agreements for SpaceX’s Rideshare Missions

NanoAvionics satellite in orbit. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

NanoAvionics awarded Exolaunch two contracts to launch the NanoAvionics-built nano-satellites on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

BERLIN, Germany, June 30, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed launch agreements with NanoAvionics, a nano-satellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator, to launch two 6U nano-satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

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SMC Announces Plan to Award Contracts for 12 Rideshare Launches to 6 Companies

LauncherOne operated in powered flight for only seconds before an anomaly shut it down after being dropped from the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747. (Credit; Virgin Orbit)

In an effort to support its industrial based during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has announced its intention to award 12 small satellite rideshare launches to six companies.

The awards will be made to:

  • Aevum
  • Astra
  • Rocket Lab USA
  • Space Vector
  • VOX Space
  • X-Bow.
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Spaceflight to Launch Its First Rideshare Payloads on a SpaceX Starlink Mission

SEATTLE, June 17, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch two rideshare payloads aboard SpaceX’s tenth Starlink mission, marking the first SpaceX Starlink mission that will be accompanied by Spaceflight rideshare payloads.

The ability to launch rideshare payloads aboard SpaceX Starlink missions provides smallsat customers with a new, reliable and routine launch option. Spaceflight’s mission, which it has dubbed SXRS-1 to signify its first rideshare with Starlink, will include two Earth-observation microsatellites for Spaceflight’s customer BlackSky.

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Spaceflight Inc. Signs Multi-Launch Agreement with SpaceX for Rideshare Services

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SEATTLE, June 17, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it inked an agreement with SpaceX to secure rideshare capacity on multiple launches. This agreement between the two companies secures Spaceflight capacity to launch manifest payloads on several SpaceX launches through the end of 2021, providing launch schedule assurance to smallsat customers needing frequent, reliable, and cost-effective launches to Sun-synchronous orbit.

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Exolaunch Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Falcon 9 Small Satellite Rideshare Mission

Falcon 9 launch with fourth batch of Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

BERLIN, Germany, April 14th, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a German rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a Launch Services Agreement with SpaceX to launch small satellites on a Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program.

Under the launch contract, Exolaunch accommodates multiple microsatellites and cubesats on the first Falcon 9 smallsat-dedicated rideshare mission to sun-synchronous orbit, targeted for launch in December 2020. 

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Spaceflight Names to Fast Company’s List of World’s Most Innovative Companies

SEATTLE (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight, Inc. has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020. The list honors the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture, showcasing a variety of ways to thrive in today’s fast-changing world. This year’s MIC list features 434 businesses from 39 countries.

Spaceflight was recognized by Fast Company for its comprehensive launch services offering, winning praise for its record-breaking dedicated rideshare mission, SSO-A.  

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