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Smallsat Notes: LeoLabs Expanding Radar Network, SpaceRyde to Launch Satellites with Balloons

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 11, 2022
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Kiwi Space Radar (Credit LeoLabs)

Some updates from the Small Satellite conference in Logan, Utah.


LeoLabs is in the midst of rapidly expanding its space radar systems to more locations around the world while tracking ever smaller objects in orbit as concern about space debris increases.

LeoLabs currently has four operating space radar sites in New Zealand, Costa Rica, Alaska and Texas. That number will be increased over the next two to three years to 25 locations around the world. It takes about nine months to build each facility.

The company is able to track objects as small as 2 cm across. It supports more than 60 percent of active spacecraft, providing data that allows their operators to avoid orbital debris.

SpaceRyde third stage can deliver payloads to lunar orbit. (SpaceRyde)


Canadian launch provider SpaceRyde has added Mina Mitry, Co-founder and CEO of Kepler Communications, to its advisory board. He joins Jeff Thornburg, who previously served as vice president of propulsion engineering at SpaceX.

SpaceRyde is developing a three-stage small satellite launcher that will be taking to a high altitude by a balloon. The company is promoting the system for Earth and lunar orbit missions.

SpaceRyde is planning a trio of tests from northern Ontario that will first fly suborbital before moving on to an orbital flight. Commercial flights are scheduled in 2024.

SpaceRyde has been talking to parties in Australia, Scotland and South Korea about launching from those nations.

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