We’re *this close* to our next launch! Spaceflight is sending 16 payloads, with 15 onboard our next-generation OTV Sherpa-FX1, on the SpaceX Transporter-1 mission scheduled to liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Spaceflight’s Senior Mission Manager Ryan Olcott summed up the importance of the upcoming launch: “This mission is new milestone for Spaceflight. Not only is it the debut flight of our next-gen Sherpa, we managed the end-to-end launch experience for 10 cubesats, four microsats and two hosted payloads — all during a global pandemic. A big heartfelt thank you to everyone involved for their hard work on this mission; it’s been a very smooth launch campaign and we can’t wait to get our customers’ spacecraft successfully on orbit.”
Below are insights and descriptions of a few of the payloads on the mission.
Kjell Karlsen, chief financial officer at Astrocast: “This is our third launch with Spaceflight and the most critical to date. With this launch, our Nanosatellite IoT Network goes live. Spaceflight’s reliable rideshare service has made the team a trusted partner as we strive to accomplish our mission. Additionally, the flexibility the company provides has been incredibly valuable as we plan for the many launches required to build an operational constellation.”
Rob Rainhart, chief operating officer at HawkEye 360: “Since launch is challenging, we looked for a partner that could offer a variety of launch options and flexible arrangements to satisfy our mission needs. Spaceflight’s experience in mission management and launch services has allowed us to focus on building our spacecraft while they handle the logistics of getting our satellites safely on orbit. They have been supportive from the early days of HawkEye 360 and we look forward to continuing the relationship as we rapidly expand our constellation.”
iQPS (Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space) is a company located in Fukuoka City, the largest city in Kyushu Island (southern part of Japan). iQPS was founded by two emeritus professors of Kyushu University, and one rocket engineer of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., to establish the space industry in Kyushu region of Japan. Its mission is to “expand the possibilities of space and contribute to the development of the world.” iQPS’s first spacecraft, IZANAGI, and now IZANAMI, have a mission to demonstrate various experimental devices and technology in space to develop the following satellites with more confidence for the constellation of iQPS 36 satellites.
Charles M. Chafer, co-founder and CEO of Celestis: “We are pleased to be aboard the Spaceflight Sherpa-FX carrier craft and look forward to launch. Spaceflight offers a convenient, cost-effective, and very responsive option for Celestis and a host of other payloads – filling an important function for emerging space businesses.”
Matthew Shouppe, Director of Commercial Space at LeoLabs: “We’re excited to work with Spaceflight to support their customers on the upcoming Transporter-1 mission with our Launch and Early Orbit tracking service. We’ll be using our global radar network and data analytics platform to help locate and identify the payloads deployed by Sherpa-FX for the first crucial days on-orbit, starting just hours after launch.”
NASA cubesat PTD-1 (Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator-1) will demonstrate a new water-based propulsion system. Carrying a pint of liquid water as fuel, the system will split the water into hydrogen and oxygen in space and burn them in a tiny rocket engine for thrust. These small spacecraft propulsion systems can be used to help spacecraft reach a destination, maintain orbit, maneuver around other objects in space, or hasten de-orbit, helping spacecraft at end-of-life, to be good stewards of an increasingly cluttered space environment.