Thoughts on the SSOA Mission from Spaceflight President Curt Blake

To say this is a historic milestone in the history of Spaceflight and for the commercial small sat industry would be an understatement. There is no other mission that has supported so many disparate hopes and dreams of all sorts of organizations; from from startups, to established businesses, from space agencies to universities, all of whom need to prove their technologies and business models, to take their organizations to new heights.

The mission represents a tremendous effort by our team over several years. Orchestrating the largest mission of smallsats on a U.S.-based launch vehicle is a big deal. Everyone at Spaceflight played an important role, from the mission managers, engineers, business development, finance, marketing, to the legal folks – everybody.    Making history is hard – but we had a team that shared the vision of rideshare, and opening up access to space for everyone.

Our Customers

It’s been an honor to work with all our customers, but especially our first time flyers who relied on our expertise to guide them through the intricacies of launch. From early launch feasibility analysis to licensing, insurance and separation systems, we’ve worked with each customer to help make their mission successful. At Spaceflight, we believe in relationships – we invest the time with each customer, and hope to fly them on future missions as well. Across time zones, and across the globe, we’ve worked tirelessly with each customer to get their spacecraft on orbit.  

The Launch Vehicle

None of this is of course possible without a launch vehicle. While we work with a wide variety of launch vehicles (and are very excited about the new small launch vehicles who are just entering the market), for SSO-A, we chose the Falcon 9. And our appreciation extends to not only our friends at SpaceX, but also our subsystem providers; from CASA to LoadPath; from Ecliptic to Airbus. Integrating more than 60 satellites from more than 30 organizations was a massive project management challenge, but with our team, along with our counterparts at SpaceX and beyond, we have together made this historic mission possible.

The Future

All eyes are on our upcoming launch – we are looking forward to watching this awesome event unfold at Vandenberg Air Force Base in a couple days. After launch, we’ll celebrate our customers’ success but then go back to work, looking ahead to the next launch (PSLV C43 with ISRO). There is so much ahead for smallsats in 2019 and beyond, including our first GTO mission next quarter and our first missions with one of the emergent small launch vehicles. The sky is truly not the limit – at Spaceflight, we want to open up space to everyone.


Curt Blake

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