Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

What’s On Board Vega Booster

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 2, 2020
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The European Vega rocket that launched this evening was carrying 53 satellites on its first rideshare mission as part of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service Proof of Concept Flight.

The payloads included 14 Flock 4V Earth imaging satellites from Planet, 12 SpaceBEE Internet of Things spacecraft from Swarm Technologies, and 8 maritime monitoring satellites from Spire.

Descriptions of all the satellites taken from the mission press kit are below.



GHGSat-C1 is the first commercial microsatellite in a planned constellation being built for GHGSat Inc. of Montreal. GHGSat-C1 will monitor greenhouse gases emitted from sources on the ground. To detect and measure point emissions, such as area fugitive sources and stacks, it will require fine ground target tracking capability. This involves an onboard sensor pointing precisely at a target on the ground while the satellite slews in orbit to remain fixed on the spot for a certain period.

Each GHGSat satellite provides periodic, high-precision measurements of emissions from thousands of such sites.

Main characteristics

Customer: UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory
Final customer: GHGSat Inc.
Manufacturer: UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory
Platform: NEMO
Mission: Earth observation
Mass at launch: 15.4 kg
Batteries: Lithium-ion
Coverage area: Global
Lifetime: 3 years (Goal: 5 years)


NEMO-HD is the first Slovenian microsatellite. It will explore a new Earth observation concept by combining interactive real-time video streaming and multispectral imaging. The main applications will be aimed at monitoring smart cities and river basins with special attention to forests, agriculture, droughts, floods and invasive plants. With NEMO-HD in orbit, the Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies (SPACE-SI) will achieve a very innovative and cost-effective remote sensing system.

Main characteristics

Customer: SPACE-SI
Final customer: SPACE-SI
Manufacturer: Space Flight Laboratory with SPACE-SI
Platform: NAUTILUS
Mission: Earth observation
Mass at launch: 65 kg
Batteries: 7S2P Lithium-ion
Coverage area: Global
Lifetime: 3 years


The UPMSat-2 is an educational, scientific and in-orbit technological demonstration microsatellite project led by the research institute of Universidad Politécnica Madrid (IRD/UPM). Its objective is to give students the competences for designing, analyzing, building, integrating, testing, and operating the platform. The satellite includes two payloads: IN-ORBIT DEMONSTRATION and RESEARCH EDUCATIONAL. The launch service for UPMSat-2 is funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 IOD/IOV Program.

Main characteristics

Customer: UPM
Final customer: UPM
Manufacturer: IRD/UPM
Platform: New development
Mission: Technology / education
Mass at launch: 45 kg
Batteries: Li-ion battery
Coverage area: Global
Lifetime: 2 years


ESAIL is the first commercial microsatellite developed under ESA’s SAT-AIS program for tracking ships. ESAIL is part of ESA’s Partnership Projects, involving exactEarth as a mission operator and LuxSpace Sarl as the prime contractor. ESAIL’s mission is to enhance the next generation of space-based services for the maritime sector.

Main characteristics

Customer: ExactEarth
Final customer: ExactEarth
Manufacturer: LuxSpace
Platform: LuxSpace Triton-2
Mission: Earth observation
Mass at launch: 112 kg
Batteries: SAFT 8s3p MPS
Coverage area: Global
Lifetime: 4 years


The ION Satellite Carrier is a spacecraft capable of transporting a batch of CubeSats to space and deploying them individually into precise orbital slots. This mission will pave the way for the definition of a new standard of space logistics, in line with the company’s vision of enabling profitable business and human expansion in a sustainable space.

Main characteristics

Customer: D-Orbit SpA
Final customer: Planet Labs Inc.
Manufacturer: D-Orbit SpA
Platform: ION mk01 platform
Mission: Technology
Mass at launch: 150 kg
Propulsion: PM200 bi-propellant system
Payloads: 12 CubeSats from Planet Labs
Coverage area: Global
Lifetime: 4 years


NewSat is a commercial high-resolution imaging satellite that operates in the visible and NIR spectrum.

Main characteristics

Customer: Spaceflight Inc.
Final customer: Satellogic
Manufacturer: Satellogic
Platform: Newsat-6
Mission: Earth observation
Mass at launch: 43.5 kg
Propulsion: Butane
Batteries: Lithium polymer
Coverage area: Global
Lifetime: 3-4 years

Unnamed Satellite

The satellite is a small experimental communication spacecraft that includes a communication system and a bus supporting module.

Main characteristics

Customer: Spaceflight Inc.
Final customer: Undisclosed
Manufacturer: Maxar Technologies
Platform: Specific
Mission: Telecommunications
Mass at launch: 138 kg
Batteries: Lithium-ion


SpaceBEESwarm TechnologiesSwarm TechnologiesInternet of things12
Flock 4VPlanetPlanetEarth observation14
LEMUR-2SpireSpireMaritime monitoring8
DIDO-3 3USpacePharmaSpacePharmaMicrogravity research1
ESARoyal Belgian Institute – Space
Atmospheric research1
SIMBA 3UESARoyal Meteorological Institute
Radiation monitoring, amateur radio & technology testing1
TRISAT 3UUniversity of Maribor (Sloveny)SkyLabsInfrared Earth imaging1
TTU-100 1UTallinn University of TechnologyTallinn University of TechnologyEarth observation, X-band comm1
AMICal SAT 2UCSUG-MSU (Moscow State
CSUG and SatRevolutionNorthern Lights imaging1
3Cat-5/AUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya &
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya &
Earth observation, inter-satellite laser comm with 3Cat-5/B1
3Cat-5/BUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya &
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya &
Earth observation, inter-satellite laser comm with 3Cat-5/A1
NAPA-1 6URoyal Thai Air ForceISISEarth observation1
TARS 6UKeplerAAC Clyde Space/KeplerMachine to machine comm1
OSM-1 CiceroOrbital Solutions MonacoTyvakRadio occultation & remote sensing1