Secondary Payloads Increasingly Take Center Stage

CubeSats (Credit: ESA/Medialab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On most launches, the small secondary satellites that ride along with the primary payloads garner little attention.

That has begun to change in recent years as CubeSats have become increasingly capable. The importance of these small satellites could be seen in the recent launch of an Indian PSLV rocket, which carried a CartoSat Earth observation satellite and 30 secondary spacecraft from India, Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and the United States.

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SSTL Confirms the Successful Launch of CARBONITE-2 & Telesat LEO Phase 1 Satellite

PSLV-C40 booster lifts off (Credit: ISRO)

GUILDFORD, England (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has confirmed the successful launch of CARBONITE-2, an Earth Observation technology demonstration mission owned and operated by SSTL, and of the Telesat LEO Phase 1 communications satellite, an important milestone in Telesat’s plans to deploy a global low earth orbit (LEO) constellation that will revolutionise broadband communications services around the world.

These two small SSTL satellites were launched into a 505 km sun-synchronous orbit on board the PSLV launch vehicle from the Satash Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India on 12 January 2018 at UTC/GMT 03:59.

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Earth-i Launches Prototype of World’s First Full-colour, Full-motion Video Satellite Constellation

CARBONITE-2 (Credit: Earth-i)

GUILDFORD, England (Earth-i PR) — British ‘New Space’ pioneer Earth-i has confirmed that the pre-production prototype satellite of its upcoming satellite constellation was successfully launched earlier today.

The new commercial constellation – which the company announced is called Vivid-i – will be the first of its kind to provide full-colour video; and the first European-owned constellation able to provide both video and still images.

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Earth-i Constellation to Provide Full-Color Video From Space

Prototype imaging satellite (Credit: Earth-i)

SURREY, England (Earth-i PR) — British ‘New Space’ pioneer Earth-i today provided another update about its progress in building the first constellation in the world to provide full-colour video – and the first European-owned commercial constellation able to provide both video and still images.

Last week Earth-i announced that it had ordered the first five satellites of its constellation from SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd).

Today the company has confirmed that its prototype satellite is now enroute to launch provider Antrix in India with the launch planned for late-December on a PSLV rocket. This satellite will be used to test performance and confirm capabilities for the future constellation including tasking, data downlinks to ground stations, and image and full-colour video capture from space.

In addition, Earth-i has chosen Norway’s KSAT (Kongsberg Satellite Services) to provide ground network services for its new Earth Observation (EO) constellation.

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