D-Orbit launches its fifth ION satellite carrier mission Spacelust aboard SpaceX Transporter-4
D-Orbit, the space logistics and orbital transportation company, today launched Spacelust, the fifth mission of the Company’s proprietary ION Satellite Carrier (ION), aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-4 mission. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on April 1, 2022, at 12:24 PM EDT from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Florida.
ION, a versatile and cost-effective orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) designed both to precisely deploy satellites and perform technology demonstrations of third-party payloads in orbit, was successfully deployed at 1:50 PM EDT into a 500 km Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
“The pace of our missions is growing fast, and we’re thrilled to add the fifth ION to the fleet of our vehicles that are already in orbit”, said Renato Panesi, Ph.D., D-Orbit’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Every mission we launch is built over the success of the ones that came before it.
We are steadily increasing our performance with each new mission, expanding our customer base and growing our exceptional team. As we execute our strategic plans, we are continuing to demonstrate the strength of our technology and are advancing D-Orbit’s path to enabling the transportation and logistics infrastructure to drive the evolving space economy.”
With the launch successfully completed, D-Orbit’s mission control team is currently going through the mission’s Launch and Early Orbit phase (LEOP), performing a series of health check procedures in preparation for the operational phase.
The Company has four more ION launches scheduled for the second half of 2022. The next ION mission, Infinite Blue, is scheduled for no earlier than June 2022.
Partnering with Valued Customers
The Spacelust mission includes satellites from Kleos Space S.A. via Spaceflight Inc., satellites developed at the Space Exploration Laboratory (SPEL) and a hosted payload from Upmosphere.
For Kleos Space, a space-powered radio frequency reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, D-Orbit will deploy four satellites which will:
Augment the capabilities of the company’s eight satellites constellation, increasing the average daily revisit rate to around five times a day over a 15-degree latitude area of interest, while expanding Kleos’ data collection capability by up to an additional 119 million kilometers² per day.
The resulting twelve-satellite constellation will be able to detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to within 300 meters, improving the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities to expose illegal activity on land and sea.
D-Orbit is partnering with Spaceflight to deploy its customer Kleos’ satellites on this mission. To prepare for launch, D-Orbit worked in close collaboration with the Spaceflight and Kleos teams to perform all operations necessary to adapt and integrate the satellites aboard ION.
For SPEL, D-Orbit will deploy three additional satellites, developed by the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics (FCFM) at the University of Chile in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Chile. These three satellites include:
PlantSat, a 3U CubeSat that will study the growth of a plant in low Earth orbit in an environment that will replicate the conditions on the surface of Mars; and
The Satellite of the University of Chile for Aerospace Investigation’s (SUCHAI) nanosats, SUCHAI 2 and SUCHAI 3, which will perform basic science research funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the basic research technical directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The satellite data will be studied by multidisciplinary teams, which will undertake cutting edge research on scientific exploration and technological development.
For Upmosphere, which offers customers a chance to launch smaller personal items that will travel around the Earth for several years aboard ION, the payload for this mission consists of a wooden UP-box containing mementos from four different clients.