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Terra Bella & Spaceflight Industries Sign The Big Bird To Launch Small Imaging Satellites

As preparations begin for the launch of Google’s Terra Bella’s SkySats their launch service company, Spaceflight, signed up with SpaceX’s Falcon 9, and already Falcon 9 is 90 percent full even though the launch is set in late 2017.

Terra Bella will be the co-lead on Spaceflight’s SSO, a dedicated rideshare.

The SSO is a dedicated rideshare mission scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in late 2017 that will transport both government and commercial microsats and cubesats. Terra Bella will be the co-lead on the SSO. Currently the payload is at 90 percent capacity with more than 20 satellites from 10 countries manifested aboard the rocket. The Confirmed spacecraft include:

  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s (KAIST) NEXTSat-1 satellite, conducting scientific missions such as star formation and space storm measurements and also technology demonstration in space
  • Iceye’s innovative SAR (synthetic aperture radar) micro-satellite for all condition imaging
  • HawkEye 360’s first three formation-flying satellites to detect, characterize, and geolocate various RF signals worldwide

Curt Blake, president of Spaceflight stated, “We’re seeing a tide shift in the industry’s expectation for routine, reliable and affordable access to space. The willingness of prominent commercial organizations to join forces for the advancement of global initiatives is very encouraging to the smallsat community, and to society as a whole.”

Spaceflight organizes launches with available capacity and schedule, provides integrated launch services, mission management, support hardware, payload integration and orbital deployment, and has negotiated the launch of nearly 120 satellites with contracts to deploy more than 150 through 2018. The company is planning its largest launch—89 spacecraft—to be deployed by its Sherpa tug from a Falcon 9 in 2017.