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Exolaunch, a German company that provides management services to deploy small satellites, announced on October 7th it signed a long-term launch contract with SpaceX to launch satellites atop Falcon 9 rocket missions throughout 2020 and 2021. The contract falls under SpaceX's SmallSat Rideshare Program, which allows companies to launch satellites to space destinations for a lower cost by sharing Falcon 9's fairing with a larger payload during a mission.
“SpaceX program is a game-changer for the rideshare launch industry giving new impetus for numerous constellations of small satellites. Teaming up with SpaceX, we are able to offer our customers seamless, reliable, and cost-effective launch solutions and expand access to space,” the Vice President of Launch Services at Exolaunch Jeanne Medvedeva stated in a press release on Wednesday.
The first mission is scheduled for December this year. A Falcon 9 rocket will deploy 30 small satellites to sun-synchronous orbit. “Our first mission with Falcon 9 later this year will set the precedent for our rideshares going forward, and we are delighted to extend partnership with SpaceX,” Medvedeva said. Some of Exolaunch’s customers that will ride atop SpaceX's rocket include: German Aerospace Center, Loft Orbital, Swarm Technologies, NanoAvionics, German universities, among a variety of commercial customers.
During these missions, Exolaunch will use tools called 'CarboNIX', 'EXOpod', and 'EXObox' "to flawlessly deploy its customers’ satellites into the target orbit." It will also use a new satellite tool called 'EXOport', which is a multi-port adapter to connect several payloads to a deployment unit that will ride atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.
The German company also shared in the press release it plans to open an office in the United States. “As we continue to sign on more U.S.-based customers, it makes sense strategically for Exolaunch to establish an additional office in the U.S." Exolaunch’s Program Manager, Connor Jonas, stated. -- "At this new location, we will set up a team of rideshare launch and deployment service experts who will be perfectly equipped to serve our customers and prospects in the states now and downstream," he added.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.