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SMi Military PNT 2020  Satellite Communications Technology

Exolaunch awarded a PSLV launch contract for Spire’s satellites

(6 February 2020 - Exolaunch) Germany’s Exolaunch has confirmed that it will arrange a milestone cubesat launch to send four of Spire’s cubesats into low-inclination orbit on the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in early 2020.

With this launch, Spire Global – a data analytics company with the world's largest constellation of satellites for weather, maritime and aircraft data tracking – aims to diversify its satellite orbits. The mission will also serve as the springboard for an exciting new collaboration between Exolaunch and Indian launch services provider, New Space India Limited (NSIL) – the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Exolaunch will arrange launch services and mission technical support using its advanced cubesat deployment system, the 12U EXOpod – the most adaptable of its kind on the market. It will also utilize the EXObox deployment sequencer to control the safe and precise separation of Spire’s satellites.

The early 2020 launch is a collaboration between three major newspace players and signals a pioneering year ahead for small satellite missions and associated technologies. Spire is unique in that it has launched over 100 satellites which operate across a broad range of orbits.

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Exolaunch's 12U EXOpod (courtesy: Exolaunch)

“Spire first launched to an equatorial orbit on a PSLV mission in 2015, and we are excited to again be launching to a low inclination orbit with NSIL, this time through Exolaunch. Exolaunch has been a long-standing consistent launch partner for Spire, and we’re excited to see them expand their portfolio to include NSIL.” said Robert Sproles, Director of Ground Stations and Launch for Spire.

Exolaunch has helped to deploy around one-third of Spire’s satellite constellation to date. The ongoing cooperation between Exolaunch and Spire has become a cornerstone for pioneering the latest advancements in small satellite launch systems and services. Exolaunch welcomes the challenge of evolving its separation systems to meet the increasing demands of Spire’s satellites.

“Spire is our long-time valued customer, and we are thrilled to be the provider that ensures its satellites can reach a variety of orbits,” Jeanne Medvedeva, Exolaunch Commercial Director, said in a comment. “For this launch, we improved our EXOpod deployer by reducing its mass while also increasing its available satellite mass. Our customer relationship with Spire is one that continues to push our product, as well as the industry, forward. We’re also looking forward to the beginning of an important cooperation with the NSIL team, who broadens the commercial horizons for PSLV launches.”

NSIL will provide launch services for Spire’s satellites onboard PSLV, and Exolaunch looks forward to providing major support for small satellite launch campaigns in India through NSIL. The organization’s participation helps develop the PSLV launches on a commercial scale and makes them more accessible to a wider variety of satellite developers.

“NSIL thrives to make space access affordable to commercial satellites using ISRO’s launch vehicles viz. PSLV, GSLV, GSLV-MkIII and the launch on-demand Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) for meeting small satellite launch needs” said Radhakrishnan D, Executive Director at NSIL.

In a further comment about the mission Medvedeva added, “The Exolaunch team welcomes the challenge of tailoring support for Spire on this unique rideshare launch, as it signals the evolution of both our product offerings and expands the possibilities of smallsat technologies in space.”

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch is a leader in European launch services and separation systems providing regular access to space for small satellites. In cooperation with global launch vehicle providers, Exolaunch brings a proven flight heritage that includes the successful organization and launch execution of 86 multinational small satellites. Exolaunch’s solutions have enabled the visions of some of the world’s most ambitious startups, universities, space agencies and scientific institutions. In addition to providing industry leading launch services, Exolaunch designs and manufactures in-house the EXOpod 12U/16U cubesat deployer and CarboNIX shock-free separation system for microsatellites.

About Spire Global

Spire Global is a space-to-cloud analytics company that utilizes proprietary satellite data and algorithms to provide the most advanced maritime, aviation and weather tracking in the world. Spire’s data analytics is backed by a wholly owned and developed constellation of nanosatellites, global ground station network and 24/7 operations that provide real-time global coverage of every point on Earth.

About New Space India Limited

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) is a Government of India company under Department of Space and is the commercial arm of ISRO. NSIL has the mandate to commercially exploit space products and services emanating from Indian space programme to global customers and to enable the growth of Indian industry in the space sector.