Well, 2020 was definitely one we won’t soon forget. A global pandemic tested our ability to adapt and move forward with business and life, while keeping our family, friends and co-workers safe. It has impacted everyone, including all of us at Spaceflight.
But despite the unusual circumstances, 2020 was still a successful and rewarding year for Spaceflight. We wanted to take a step back and reflect as we exit 2020, and eagerly welcome 2021.
Here are some highlights:
New OTVs: As part of our commitment to getting spacecraft on orbit exactly when and where they want to go, we debuted a new Orbital Transfer Vehicle program, the Sherpa-NG (NextGen) series. Sherpa-FX is the first of these, flying no sooner than January 2021 on the next SpaceX rideshare mission. Our propulsive OTVs, Sherpa-LTE and Sherpa-LTC, are not far behind and we can’t wait to see them fly in mid 2021.
Many Launches Despite Delays: Providing launch and mission management services during a global pandemic took endless hours of planning and creative thinking (and many days in quarantine), but we still managed to pull off five launches on four different vehicles, in four different countries. In total, we sent 40 customer spacecraft to orbit. Executing this kind of launch schedule during a time of so much uncertainty shows the tireless dedication of our team and why flexibility is our hallmark.
New Digital Tools: This year we debuted two key tools to put more control in our customers’ hands. “Book My Launch” allows customers to easily book a launch online with a credit card, similar to booking an airline ticket. “Mission Control,” our online customer portal, provides customers with real-time status updates and milestone progress of their missions, saving time and providing fast access to launch information.
New & Expanding Partnerships: We had a great year both establishing new partnerships and cementing old ones. We signed several multi-year launch agreements, including exciting ones with HawkEye 360 and SpaceX. We also brought a new launch vehicle into our offerings, with a deal with Firefly, and have secured multiple launches with them. We also signed partnerships with Benchmark Space Systems and Apollo Fusion Inc. for Sherpa-LTC and Sherpa-LTE. We will be going farther and faster than ever before, both in space and here on Earth.
Acquisition by Mitsui & Co., Ltd., in partnership with Yamasa Co., Ltd.: This acquisition supercharged our growth and has allowed us to expand offerings for our customers. We’ve been able to invest in new technology and services to deliver unmatched flexibility in everything we do — from booking a launch through tracking it on orbit, and everything in between.
While it’s been a year of many accomplishments at Spaceflight, we’re looking forward to turning the page to 2021. We can’t wait to resume our travel plans and hopefully connect with many of you in person. We’re committed as ever to providing more innovative launch services, and continuing to grow and flex as the industry and the world — and you! — demand.
Plus, we have a few surprises in store for 2021 as well, so stay tuned and stay healthy. We’ll see you soon.