1. You can’t just call up a launch provider and book a seat on their next rocket. Launch providers have one primary concern: getting their rockets safely to space. Their resources are devoted to making sure their technology is as flawless as possible. Most don’t want to be travel agents – they rely on their launch service provider to handle the logistics and nuances of customer service. (That’s where we come in!)
2. You can get Frequent Flyer status. Airlines reward their best customers, and space travel is no different. If you’re committing to multiple launches, you’re going to get a better deal.
3. Different times of year and different orbits have different prices. If you want to fly to Florida for spring break, it’s going to cost you more than if you want to go the last week of August. There are certain times of the year that are always going to be more popular, and you can expect to pay more. Your cost will also vary based on how soon the launch is. Finally, you should expect to pay a premium for orbits with low supply of flights, say 600km 37 degrees (Cleveland), versus going to a popular destination, for example 500-600km sun synch (Los Angeles).
4. Launch dates are always aspirational. The only constant in life is change. That is never more true than for launches. Most people realize that weather is a huge variable in launches but there are a myriad of other factors that can push a launch back, from regulatory constraints to technical difficulties of some of the other customers sharing your ride to space. It’s a good idea to write your launch date on your calendar in pencil.
5. Paperwork is still 1950’s era. No matter how advanced the technology, paperwork remains much the way it was decades ago. Getting all the ITAR licensing and regulatory complexity for launching a satellite out of the way can be more difficult than achieving escape velocity. Make sure you have an expert on your side to get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.
6. The difficulty of space hardware procurement and integration is usually underestimated. Despite many websites offering an Amazon.com-like experience, is not as simple as you might think to get your spacecraft integrated to a launch vehicle. Space hardware is not yet a commodity. How the hardware is designed, built, and tested is important. Are you looking to buy a Volvo or a KIA? We can help here.
This list isn’t exhaustive – the industry and regulatory landscape is changing constantly, There are new challenges and pitfalls arising daily, which is why you want an expert on your side if you want to get your satellite safely and efficiently into orbit. Give us a call and we’d be happy to share more insights relevant to your individual needs.
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