Spaceflight: The Space Logistics Company Offering Affordable Satellite Launch & Network Services

Spaceflight makes sure nothing falls through the cracks from Mission kick-off through spacecraft deployment. We let you spend more time on the spacecraft and less time worrying about launch.

Each launch vehicle is different, but we have the expertise and experience to ensure all bases are covered. Our commercial firm fixed pricing for launch and integration services includes all flight hardware support equipment to successfully integrate, launch, and deploy your spacecraft on orbit.

Spaceflight Launch – Cygnus 2014

Spaceflight Space Systems and Launch Services Spaceflight Systems is a small responsive integrator developing enabling systems for the emerging commercial space industry. Spaceflight is developing the Spaceflight Secondary Payload System (SSPS), a secondary payload system and the SHERPA in-space tug for Spaceflight Inc. In addition Spaceflight has a range of spacecraft and launch system development efforts including microsatellites such as SCOUT and the Small Agile Tactical Spacecraft for the US Army SMDC, and the Reusable Booster System Pathfinder vehicle for the USAF.

Spaceflight Networks is a global ground station network available to provide connectivity for your small satellite mission or constellation. SF Networks provides its customers a list of satellite radios that are immediately compatible with SF Networks, and no non-recurring engineering is required. Spaceflight’s diverse ground station locations are optimized to minimize communications latency and maximize data throughput of satellites and constellations. The first Spaceflight Networks ground station is operational in Seattle, WA, with additional ground stations coming online in 2015, 2016, and 2017 across six continents.

How it works:

Customers choose and purchase a radio that fits their mission needs. Spaceflight Network’s radio offerings span the use case spectrum from low-rate, UHF CubeSat TT&C to microsatellite payload X-band down links with speeds of 100s of Mbps.  Customers purchase a data plan to utilize the network. No setup fees are required to use the network.

Customers sign up for passes via SFNetworks web-based interface or API. During a contact pass, a secure data port will be provided to route data to and from the satellite via Spaceflight Networks.

This map represents the full complement of currently existing and future planned Ground Sites around the world.

This map represents the full complement of currently existing and future planned Ground Sites around the world. Detailed site information is available here.

 

 

To the Moon!

It is not every day that you say “we just procured launch services to 12 satellites to low earth orbit — oh and by the way, one of them is going to the MOON,” but is just what we did.

You maybe saw the big announcement today that explains it all: Israel-based SpaceIL Becomes First Google Lunar XPRIZE Team to Produce a Verified Launch Contract for a 2017 Mission, Using a SpaceX Falcon 9 Launcher via Spaceflight Industries.” With this verified launch contract in the US$30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, SpaceIL secures a “ticket to the moon”—not only becoming the first Israeli mission to the moon, but also the world’s first private lunar mission…and we’re making it happen!

How it’ll work:

SpaceIL has purchased launch services (on our new SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher we announced last week) and we’ll manifest SpaceIL’s spacecraft as a co-lead spot, which will sit in a designated capsule inside the launcher, among a cluster of secondary payloads. Once the capsule separates from the launcher, it will automatically release the spacecraft, which will use advanced navigation sensors to guide it to the lunar surface, with engineers in a mission control room standing by to remotely send commands and corrections as needed.

Back at the office…

Maiden-Antares-First-LaunchThe reality of that statement “secured a ticket to the moon” is finally taking hold now, almost a week after the signing of the contract. When you think about the idea of signing up for launch services, the idea of placing hundreds of millions of dollars in satellites on the front of a rocket, of the engineering feat of design and analyses needed to integrate more than 12 satellites ranging between 50 and 575 kilograms it becomes quite significant.

Then if one starts thinking more quantitatively of just how unique and special this event is it becomes a thing that grows goosebumps on the skin and induces tingles in stomach. It’s the world’s FIRST commercial lunar mission!

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen as it launches from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Sunday, April 21, 2013. The test launch marked the first flight of Antares and the first rocket launch from Pad-0A. The Antares rocket delivered the equivalent mass of a spacecraft, a so-called mass simulated payload, into Earth's orbit. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)If you consider that there are about 50 some launches per year, a large number of those being Government, it demonstrates that access to space is really a limited commodity.  Next consider that many of the launches are for Government customers like NASA that actually have procured multiple launch vehicles and that this was done with a small team of contract specialists.  

On the commercial side, once again the mega giant aerospace companies are buying multiple launches for their telecommunication satellites and much like the governments of the world they too use a small team of contract specialists.  Therefore, we are in a very small minority of people who get to experience such an epic event.  By my very unscientific approach and calculations only about .000004% of the population each year get this experience.

A dedicated rideshare mission, a border line oxymoron, represents a future where access to space becomes more obtainable, leading to a growth in satellite use, which in turn leads to more access to space.

This is truly a great time for this industry.

This has not come easy, anyone familiar with launching a satellite understands the effort involved withintegrating a single satellite on a rocket.  Now take that and multiply it by 12.  Then just to mix it up some more, each of 12 satellites have some level of interaction with each other. Again, using some very basic science here, pulling together this type of mission is on the order of 36 times more complex than a single spacecraft.  This is a job that few have wanted to take on.

But our team at Spaceflight raised our hand to do just that.

Soyuz-Launch-with-PayloadAfter many months of negotiating masses, coordinate systems, cost, payment schedules, power, schedule, loads, testing and a whole suite of analyses an intelligible design and plan has been completed.  The integrated payload stack represents at least 12 and maybe as many as 18 small satellites, a first, as far as we can tell for a commercial dedicated rideshare mission.

As the saying goes, now the fun begins – and by fun I mean lots of hard work keeping the schedules aligned, thermal controlled, cleanliness maintained, testing complete, requirements verified, logistics planned and of course designing an epic mission patch.

To the MOON, Mitch