Spaceflight, the global launch services provider, announced it will launch four Astrocast 3U spacecraft aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). This mission, scheduled for October 2022, will launch from Sriharikota, India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre, carrying the Astrocast spacecraft as a co-passenger to sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) along with the Indian national primary satellite.
This launch represents Spaceflight’s eighth launch on a PSLV and its fourth supporting Astrocast’s nanosatellite Internet of Things (IoT) network and constellation. Once this mission is complete, Spaceflight will have launched 16 spacecraft in the Astrocast constellation, which enables companies to track and monitor assets in some of the world’s most remote regions.
“PSLV has long been a reliable and valuable launch partner to Spaceflight and we’re excited to work with NSIL again after the COVID-19 restrictions of the last few years,” says Curt Blake, CEO of Spaceflight. “By having experience working with many different launch providers around the world, we are able to identify missions that meet our customer’s exact needs – whether that’s driven by schedule, cost or destination. As Astrocast builds its network and constellation, we can offer them a range of launch options, flexibility and customisation to support their long-term plans.”
Astrocast is a long-time Spaceflight customer. In March 2022, the Satellite IoT (SatIoT) network operator extended its multi-launch agreement with Spaceflight to accommodate Astrocast’s fast-growing IoT constellation. Spaceflight has previously successfully launched all 12 of Astrocast’s spacecraft into orbit, including demonstration models dating back to Spaceflight’s historic SSO-A mission in 2018 and PSLV-C45 in 2019. The companies most recently partnered and successfully launched an additional five nanosatellites on SpaceX Transporter-1 in January 2021.
“This launch is helping us get closer to accomplishing our mission of building and operating the most advanced and sustainable satellite IoT network,” says Kjell Karlsen, CFO of Astrocast. “Our long-standing relationship with Spaceflight and their access to, and experience with, an extensive portfolio of vehicles has provided us with the flexibility and customisation needed to launch our satellites. Assured access to space is critical for us as we grow our network and our partnership with Spaceflight enables us to efficiently build out our constellation.”
The uniqueness of Astrocast’s nanosatellite IoT network can be attributed to the fact that its Low-Earth-Orbit constellation of satellites offers users cost-effective, bidirectional communication and modules with long battery life that connect assets moving across its network. The small sized modules and antenna allow systems integrators to place a module on any device, from fishing buoys to container trackers or moving animals. Astrocast’s solution has been designed to minimise the need for human intervention and repair, wherever possible, safeguarding the IoT business case.
2022 has been a year of innovation and leadership for Spaceflight, with successful inaugural launches of its Sherpa-AC and Sherpa-LTC vehicles. Its next notable OTV mission will take place in mid-2023, launching Spaceflight’s Sherpa-ES, a bipropellant, high delta-V OTV, aboard the much-anticipated lunar slingshot mission, GEO Pathfinder. To date, the company has executed more than 50 launches taking more than 450 customer payloads to orbit.