First Smallsat Rideshare on an ISRO PSLV for Spire Smallsats is Signed by NanoRacks

NanoRacks has signed their first customer contract for a smallsat rideshare on the India Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — Spire, a long-time customer of NanoRacks, has signed to fly four of their Lemur 3U cubesats, targeting a March 2019 flight.

Artistic rendition of the Lemur-2 smallsat.

Image is courtesy of Spire.

Spire’s CubeSats offer data and analytics for parts of the world where collecting data is notoriously difficult, tracking ships, planes, and weather in remote regions which often go unmonitored. To date, of the 80+ satellites Spire has launched, 37 have been deployed into orbit via NanoRacks from both the International Space Station and the Cygnus spacecraft.

The Cygnus resupply ship with its round, brass-colored UltraFlex solar arrays is guided to its port on the Unity module shortly after it was captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm on May 24, 2018.

Photo is courtesy of NASA.

For this PSLV opportunity NanoRacks is working with Berlin-based Astro -und Feinwerktechnik Adlershof GmbH (Astrofein) to manufacture and supply deployers and is coordinating this launch opportunity with Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Polar orbit opportunities come in addition to NanoRacks’ market leadership in LEO, which includes smallsat deployments from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) and Kaber Deployer on the International Space Station, as well as the External NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (E-NRCSD) mounted on the exterior of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.

NanoRacks has deployed more than 220 smallsats into LEO to date, sparking accelerated growth for numerous startup companies, providing educational opportunities, and driving the market for commercial access to space.

Executive Comments

Jenny Barna, Spire’s Launch Director, said the extension of NanoRacks to launching with PSLV is an opportunity to work with a familiar and trusted partner. Tracking of ships, planes, and weather on a global basis relies on having many satellites in a varied set of orbits. To efficiently reach some orbits, the launch must occur from a location on the planet that lends itself to that goal.

NanoRacks’ SVP for Business Development, Richard Pournelle,added that the company prides itself on being launch-agnostic. Spire has proven to be both a great partner and customer, being the first to explore and prove the firm’s Cygnus deployment opportunities, and now our offerings on PSLV. NanoRacks’ focus is always on the customer, so if the customer needs a certain orbit, the company is here to provide that opportunity to them as the firm is much more than just an International Space Station company.

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