All aboard! Transporter-1 (SXRS-3) departing soon

Spaceflight’s Senior Mission Manager Ryan Olcott

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.”

Spaceflight Inc. integration team (with the Sherpa-FX OTV in the background) at the SpaceX Payload Processing Facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Back row: M. Coletti, A. Lewandowski, J. Larkin, M. Foster, M. Boysen Front row: A. Taylor, R. Olcott

Below are insights and descriptions of a few of the payloads on the mission.

Astrocast is developing an advanced nanosatellite network for the Internet of things (IoT). The constellation will consist of 100 CubeSat satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and will provide low latency global coverage.

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.” 

HawkEye Cluster 2 provides precise mapping of radio frequency emissions and features even more powerful satellites that can geolocate multiple signals simultaneously.

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-SAR 2 “IZANAMI” is the second iQPS small SAR satellite of about 100 kg while being able to stably observe at a high resolution of 1m by developing a large parabolic antenna that is highly packable and lightweight, only 10kg (22 lb) .

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.

Celestis contracted with Spaceflight Inc. to transport the Horizon Flight container holding flight capsules filled with cremated remains to space.

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.”

LeoLabs tracks satellites and space debris in LEO with its phased-array radar network, empowering satellite operators with real-time web services for constellation tracking, streaming conjunction alerts with risk analytics, and orbit visualizations for a variety of applications.

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.”

Illustration of Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator-1 spacecraft, demonstrating a water-based propulsion system in low-Earth orbit. Credits: NASA

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.

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