LOGAN, Utah — Satellite M2M/IoT startup Astrocast and payload-dispenser provider D-Orbit announced an agreement for the launch of ten nanosatellites aboard an Arianespace Vega small-sat launcher in late 2019 or early 2020.
The agreement, signed Aug. 7 on the sidelines of the Smallsat 2018 conference, will see the spacecraft ride as a secondary payload aboard the new Vega-C vehicle in development at Avio SpA of Colleferro, Italy; and Europe’s ArianeGroup.
Astrocast said that its nanosats could also ride on the existing Vega vehicle; the upgraded Vega-C launcher is slated for an inaugural flight in late 2019. The company said it has insisted that the launch occur no later than spring 2020. D-Orbit is acting as launch-service interface between Arianespace and Astrocast.
Astrocast’s proof-of-concept satellite is scheduled for launch in November aboard a Spaceflight-organized launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The company has a backup launch — it needs only one satellite to prove the system — scheduled for December on India’s PSLV rocket.
For the Vega mission, 10 nanosatellites will travel inside D-Orbit’s DPOD dispensers, designed to reduce vibration and shock levels during launch.
“Astrocast is pleased to partner with D-Orbit in securing an established, proven launch vehicle for our fourth deployment of satellites,” said Fabien Jordan, founder and CEO of Astrocast. “This mission will mark an important milestone for Astrocast, as our second revenue-generating launch.”
Delivered to a sun-synchronous orbit between 450-600 km altitude, the 10 Astrocast nanosatellites represent one orbital plane of the company’s 80-satellite network. The constellation will consist of eight orbital planes, each consisting of eight operational satellites and two in-orbit spares.
Astrocast’s future network of spacecraft in low Earth orbit aims to provide cost-effective Internet-of-Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine services for the 90% of the globe not covered by cellular systems.
Amy Svitak is a Space Intel Report contributing editor.