Spaceflight announced during Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris that the company has procured upcoming launches to GEO — the company anticipates offering rideshare opportunities to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) approximately every 12 to 18 months, or as customer demand requires.
The first mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, which was procured by SSL, a Maxar Technologies company. It will represent the two companies’ first combined launch and Spaceflight’s first mission beyond Lower Earth Orbit (LEO).
The manifest for this Falcon 9 GTO rideshare mission is completely full and features several undisclosed payloads along with an unmanned lunar spacecraft from SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization that was competing in the Google Lunar XPrize to land a spacecraft on the Moon. The first rideshare satellites will separate in GTO and then the SSL host spacecraft will continue on to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) where the remaining rideshare satellites will be separated.
Curt Blake, the President of Spaceflight, said that the company is focused on getting customers’ spacecraft into orbit in the most expeditious, cost-effective manner possible. The rideshare model is beneficial to everyone; the primary spacecraft as well as all the secondaries pay less than if they contracted to launch individually. In addition, working with a reliable partner like SSL to fulfill our first GTO mission increases our ability to service this growing destination.
David Bernstein, SVP of program management at SSL, added that Spaceflight has taken an innovative approach to aggregating launches and, as a result, bringing a more cost-effective launch model to the industry. Working as a team with Spaceflight and SpaceX, SSL is enabling a unique mission that ultimately accomplishes a translunar injection, prior to dropping off other payloads on our way to GEO for the primary communications satellite.