Techcrunch.com reports that spacecraft manufacturer and operator Astranis has agreed to purchase a single Falcon 9 launch to carry four of its 420 kg MicroGEO small satellite bus platforms into a transfer orbit on their way to their final geostationary Earth orbital (GEO) position. Astranis CEO notes that a dedicated launch allows the spacecraft to get closer to GEO with its transfer orbit, reducing the amount of time that the satellites can get on station. The Falcon 9 launch is planned for late 2023.
The launch contract in effect gives Astranis the final piece on it way to delivering a service type offering whereby the satellite manufacturer takes on the risk of construction, delivery to orbit and operation, in return for a long term contract to provide telecommunications services. The four satellites to be launched on this mission, one satellite is to deliver satellite internet services to Peru for Grupo Andesat under a US$90 million contract. Two of the satellites will be used by Anavu to provide similar broadband internet servies to cruise liners and airlines. One of the satellites has a mystery client.