TAMPA, Fla. — U.S.-based launch providers supplier Spaceflight mentioned Jan. 25 it has booked a devoted launch in 2026 from Isar Aerospace, the German rocket developer aiming to carry out the primary check flight of its Spectrum automobile this yr.
The mission is slated to carry off from Isar’s launchpad in Andøya, Norway, to sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
Their settlement additionally contains an possibility for a further devoted launch in 2025, which Isar chief industrial officer Stella Guillen instructed SpaceNews may additionally use a launchpad it’s growing on the Guiana House Middle close to Kourou, French Guiana.
Spaceflight, Isar’s first U.S.-based buyer, brokers ride-sharing alternatives for small satellites and has a collection of Sherpa house tugs to ship them to fine-tuned orbits post-rocket-separation.
Spectrum can carry a Sherpa orbital switch automobile (OTV), Spaceflight mentioned, however a call on whether or not it will likely be used will likely be made nearer to launch.
A number of launch suppliers have helped Spaceflight facilitate missions for its prospects, though to this point solely SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets have flown Sherpas.
After SpaceX severed ties with the company last year, Spaceflight introduced an settlement in August to launch its OTVs on Arianespace’s Vega launch automobiles, together with its next-generation Vega C rocket.
Nonetheless, the necessity to probe Vega C’s launch failure in December has raised the prospect that Europe could be left — temporarily — without its own access to space by this summer season.
“We’ve seen an elevated demand for versatile and inexpensive launch choices across the globe, however particularly for our European-based prospects,” Spaceflight CEO Curt Blake mentioned in an announcement.
Guillen mentioned assessments of its two-stage Spectrum launch automobile “are progressing nicely” forward of its first flight within the second half of 2023.
Isar’s first and second missions purpose to hold European payloads that had been chosen as a part of a contest run by German house company DLR.
5 European establishments from Germany, Norway, and Slovenia had been picked to launch a complete seven small satellites on the inaugural flight.
Spectrum’s second mission, which Guillen mentioned may happen lower than six months later, is slated to deploy 19 spacecraft from six institutional teams and 4 companies throughout Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Norway, and Spain.
Each missions would carry about 150 kilograms of payload — together with satellites and their deployers — to polar orbits.
Spectrum is designed to ship as much as 700 kilograms to sun-synchronous orbit and as much as 1,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit.
“After we could have efficiently carried out a check flight, we’re planning to ramp-up the launch cadence as much as 10 launches per yr within the quick and center time period,” Guillen mentioned through electronic mail.
“In the long run we’re working in direction of performing 30-40 launches per yr.”
House logistics firm D-Orbit hopes to fly its OTV on one of many first industrial flights after Isar’s preliminary two missions. The Italian firm signed a deal last year to be the first buyer for an upcoming Spectrum launch to sun-synchronous orbit.
Exotrail, a French firm additionally growing OTVs, has an agreement for a number of Spectrum missions between 2024 and 2029.
Spaceflight mentioned it has till April 2024 to take up Isar’s 2025 launch possibility.