Apr 24, 2018

Avio eyes larger chunk of smallsat launch market

Posted by in category: satellites

WASHINGTON — The light-lift Vega rocket is Europe’s vehicle of choice for small satellites, but has mainly launched spacecraft weighing hundreds of kilograms. While that’s smaller than what Arianespace normally launches on an Ariane 5 or Soyuz, it’s not the “small” that people generally think of when they think smallsats.

Last week, Arianespace signed a contract with smallsat rideshare organizer Spaceflight Industries of Seattle to conduct two Vega launches with a new adaptor for cubesats and microsats. The first of those launches is expected no sooner than 2019.

Spaceflight will line up the passengers for the Small Spacecraft Mission System (SSMS), an adapter developed by the European Space Agency to accommodate 10 to 15 smallsats ranging from single-digit-kilogram cubesats to microsats up to 400 kilograms.

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