December 12, 2019 • Evelyn J. Arevalo
Source: Kepler Communications
Kepler Communications, a nanosatellite startup company based in Toronto, is making history by teaming up with SpaceX for the first time to launch the company's nanosatellite constellation next year. Kepler announced today that it has selected SpaceX to launch two separate batches of small satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket rideshare. Mina Mitry, CEO of Kepler Communications said:
"Kepler looks forward to working with SpaceX to fulfill part of our 2020 launch plans. With this agreement, we are deploying our next-generation constellation on schedule, which will let us serve the growing demand. We chose SpaceX as a launch partner and support their SmallSat Rideshare Program which is certainly a one-of-its-kind, exceeding expectations in terms of pricing and accommodation."
The Kepler constellation will consist of 140 small satellites that are planned to be deployed in three phases, from 2020 to 2023. The first portion of nanosatellites will be two separate batches that will be delivered into Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). These two batches aim to deliver direct internet connectivity satellite network, with the ability to provide high-speed data transfer.
Kepler's nanosatellites will spin in LEO around the Earth at 575 km altitude, completing an orbit every 90 minutes delivering internet communication coverage to the planet. Each satellite is capable of sending hundreds of Gigabytes per day. This future launch will place the Kepler nanosatellites into a Sun-synchronous orbit, meaning that these small satellites will pass over specific points on Earth at the same time each day according to the Sun’s position.
In total, Kepler communications plans to launch around 880 lbs of cargo with SpaceX, making use of their rideshare program which significantly reduces the price of launching satellites into space by sharing the rocket's cargo fairing along with cargo belonging to other companies. SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell stated, "SpaceX is honored Kepler chose our Falcon 9 rideshare program to launch a portion of its innovative nanosatellite constellation, which will help close global gaps in internet connectivity. SpaceX is looking forward to delivering these important spacecraft to orbit for Kepler."