Among the many announcements emanating from the 2019 Small Satellite Conference at Logan, Utah, Arianespace introduced an innovative service providing fast-track access to Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (also known as geostationary orbit, or GEO) for the new generation of small satellites, offering a first flight opportunity with more than 4,500 kg. of such payloads on its “GO-1” mission in the first half of 2022.
Customers taking advantage of the GO-1 mission will benefit from a short ride to orbit: from liftoff to separation, the duration will be shorter than commercial jetliner flight from New York to Paris. The new service also will involve user-friendly launch service agreements and simplified mission preparation procedures. As close to six months before liftoff, customers will be able to purchase one or several slots on the GO-1 mission.
This rideshare flight from the Guiana Space Center announced during the 2019 Small Satellite Conference at Logan, Utah, will use the Ariane 64 version of Europe’s future heavy-lift launcher. The GO-1 mission will inaugurate a regular, frequent path to direct geostationary orbit for small satellites. Configured with the Multi-Launch Service carrying system (MLS), Ariane 6 can accommodate a full range of small-sized satellites, from cubesats to microsats or larger.
Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said that this is a new day for small satellites: until now, there has been no convenient, predictable, affordable path to GEO for small satellites. But with the Ariane 64 coming online and the GO-1 mission, they’ve engineered a solution that will pave the way for a smallsat revolution in geostationary orbit. While most of such launches depend on a lead customer who could delay the flight, the GO-1 mission will follow a specific schedule — offering to each customer and to each satellite a ‘place of honor’ aboard this flight, which will lift off once the targeted payload capacity is booked.