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LeoStella Upsizes Satellite Bus for Space Development Agency Contracts

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 7, 2023
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LeoStella Upsizes Satellite Bus for Space Development Agency Contracts
Satellite based on LS-300 bus.
Image credit: LeoStella.

LeoStella has introduced a larger version of its small satellite bus the company says is ideally suited for customers seeking to win contracts from the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency (SDA).

LeoStella’s LS-300 bus can accommodate satellites weighing 500 kg (1,102 lb), with 250 kg (551 lb) available for payloads, the company said in a press release. The bus has larger solar panels that provide up to one kilowatt of power. The LS-300 also incorporates a space-qualified propulsion system capable of achieving velocity change in excess of 200 meters (656 feet) per second. The bus can also host inter-satellite links and other capabilities sought by SDA.

SDA is developing constellations of small satellites designed to enhance military communications, detect incoming missiles, and improve US warfighting capability overall. The agency has awarded satellite contracts to Lockheed Martin Space, L3Harris Technologies, Northrop Grumman Strategic Space Systems, SpaceX, and York Space Systems.

“We’ve already secured our first LS-300 customer, which is a testament that our updated bus platform meets the evolving needs of the satellite market,” CEO Tim Kienberger said in a press release. “LeoStella offers co-engineering services which enable us to efficiently provide satellites that are optimized to specific customer requirements.”

LS satellite buses. Image credit: LeoStella.

LeoStella also offers the LS-100 bus, which weighs 60 kg (132 lb), and the LS-200 bus, which weighs 150 kg (331 lb).

The Washington state-based company is a joint venture co-owned by European satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and US-based BlackSky Technology. The company has been producing most of its satellites for BlackSky’s geospatial constellation.

In June, LeoStella announced it had delivered its third satellite to Loft Orbital Solutions. It was the 20th satellite manufactured by LeoStella since the company’s founding in 2019.

Loft Orbital is a space infrastructure-as-a-service company that purchases satellite buses in bulk and aggregates customer payloads for integration onto satellites.

“The LS-300 satellite bus is well-positioned to meet the varied needs of customers seeking access to space,” said Loft Orbital CEO Pierre-Damien Vaujour. “Loft Orbital has had great success with LeoStella’s established bus platforms. I’m confident the updated LS-300 bus platform will enhance the company’s already established reputation.”

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