Launcher, a company that is working to develop an efficient rocket to deliver small satellites to orbit, unveiled its ‘Orbiter’ vehicle this week. Orbiter is a universal orbital transfer vehicle and satellite deployment platform that is designed to launch atop the company’s Launcher Light rocket and SpaceX’s Falcon 9. “Orbiter is interoperable with either launch vehicle via a common 24-inch ESPA Grande adapter ring and is contracted to make its inaugural flight to sun-synchronous orbit via SpaceX Falcon 9 Rideshare mission in October 2022,” the company announced in a press release.
SpaceX’s Rideshare program offers companies the option of launching small satellites or payload(s) to space destinations for a much lower price by sharing spacecraft with multiple larger payloads during a single mission. Under the Rideshare program, customers can launch multiple satellites at around $1 million compared to the cost of booking an entire Falcon 9 flight for approximately $62 million.
Orbiter can carry dozens of CubeSats to space, up to 150-kilograms stacked in a modular satellite deployer, as shown in the video below. The Orbiter vehicle features its own chemical propulsion system that takes each payload into different designated orbits. Orbiter is equipped with an efficient battery and solar arrays that can also power payload, data communication, as well as high-resolution video cameras that enables mission control on Earth to monitor vehicle and satellite deployments.
“Orbiter delivers the best of both worlds: the ability to maximize and tailor launch opportunities for your constellation using SpaceX’s rideshare program, as well as the option to design additional complimentary missions on a small, dedicated Launcher rocket when orbit requirements or schedules dictate,” said Launcher Founder and Chief Executive Officer Max Haot. “Customers benefit from working with the same partner, mission team, contract, qualification and regulatory processes, satellite interface, and orbital transfer vehicle hardware and software platform.”
All Images Source: Launcher Space
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.