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  • Satellite Evolution

Open Cosmos and Exolaunch announce launch agreements for MENUT Earth observation satellite

Open Cosmos, a leading space mission and data provider, has signed its first launch services agreement (LSA) with Exolaunch, a global provider of launch services and deployment solutions.

Open Cosmos is launching its 6U MENUT Earth Observation (EO) nanosatellite aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-6 rideshare mission, due to take place today (3 January 2023), with the launch planned and overseen by Exolaunch. The satellite was successfully integrated into the deployer and the Falcon 9 launch vehicle ahead of the launch at Cape Canaveral at 2.56pm today.

MENUT is part of the OpenCostellation, a global shared satellite infrastructure built and managed by Open Cosmos. Countries, institutions and companies are able to contribute their own satellites and create the world’s biggest mutualised constellation. Subsequent Open Cosmos-built small satellites, contributed by leading space organisations in the UK, Spain and Portugal for OpenConstellation, are already being built and will be launched throughout 2023 and 2024.

The OpenConstellation is designed to foster cooperation and drive participation from companies, nonprofits and national and regional governments that may not possess the resources to establish and maintain Earth Observation constellations individually. Data sharing and access is managed by Open Cosmos through its DataCosmos software data platform announced in 2022. DataCosmos can draw Earth observation data not just from OpenConstellation’s satellites but also from other satellites as well as drones and ground-based sensors.

“We’re delighted to be launching MENUT,” says Aleix Megias, VP of Operations at Open Cosmos. “The project will enable national and regional governments, as well as organisations to access insightful and actionable data from space from a revolutionary shared space infrastructure model. This wouldn’t be possible without partners that share our mission to make space data and infrastructure more accessible and it was great to work closely with Exolaunch to launch MENUT.”

MENUT was integrated into the launch vehicle and deployed into sun-synchronous orbit by Exolaunch’s EXOpod Nova. The Nova nanosatellite deployer increases available side panel volume by a factor of four and increases available mass by 30 per cent, enabling a wider and more powerful array of nanosatellite designs and use cases.

“We are excited for this opportunity to partner with Open Cosmos for the first time, a rapidly rising star in both the UK and European space industries and the NewSpace industry at large,” says Jeanne Allarie, VP Launch at Exolaunch. “Open Cosmos’ goals and values are very much in line with Exolaunch’s: establishing sustainable and easily accessible infrastructure in orbit. This goal is in large part made possible by SpaceX and its ongoing Transporter rideshare missions.”


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