Kepler books orbital transfer vehicle for next launch

TAMPA, Fla. — Canada’s Kepler Communications stated June 30 it plans to make use of D-Orbit’s orbital switch automobile for the following two satellites in its low-data-rate constellation.

The Kepler-20 and Kepler-21 satellites can be boarded on the Italian house logistics firm’s ION Satellite tv for pc Service, which has booked a flight within the first quarter of 2023 on a rocket the businesses declined to reveal.

After separating from the launch automobile, D-Orbit intends to make use of ION to drop Kepler’s satellites off at a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) between 500 and 600 kilometers. Every satellite tv for pc is the dimensions of six cubesats, a regular smallsat kind issue measuring 10 centimeters on either side.  

ION and orbital switch automobiles developed by different firms supply operational efficiencies for satellite tv for pc operators, enabling them to save lots of gasoline by ferrying their spacecraft to customized orbits post-launch.

Whereas D-Orbit spokesperson Elena Ceraso declined to determine the launch automobile that may take ION to orbit, she stated it’s not the mission the corporate announced June 22 with German startup Isar Aerospace.

Kepler at present operates 19 satellites to supply connectivity to gadgets out of vary of terrestrial networks.

The primary two had been three-unit cubesats, Kepler chief expertise officer Wen Chong stated, and the remaining 17 are six-unit spacecraft.

As with two of the 4 Kepler satellites that launched Jan. 13 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission, he stated Kepler-20 and Kepler-21 may have an S-band terminal to check inter-satellite hyperlinks.

Kepler plans to make use of inter-satellite hyperlinks to faucet right into a data-relay constellation of bigger satellites it goals to begin deploying early subsequent yr.

The Canadian firm began testing inter-satellite hyperlinks earlier this year for its Aether information relay community.

In October 2020, Kepler announced an agreement to make use of Momentus House’s Vigoride orbital switch automobile to deploy two satellites in 2021.

Nevertheless, Momentus House bumped into technical and regulatory delays that finally noticed the corporate launch its first Vigoride mission May 25 on a Falcon 9, with out Kepler onboard.

Momentus began buying and selling shares on Nasdaq in August after merging with Secure Highway Acquisition Corp, a particular goal acquisition firm (SPAC).

D-Orbit introduced its personal SPAC merger plan in January to develop into a public firm within the third quarter of 2022.

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