D-2/Atlacom-1 satellite changes hands mid-orbit

by | Jun 28, 2022 | Satellites, Seradata News

New-space satellite manufacturer NanoAvionics has sold off the D-2/Atlacom-1 satellite that is already in orbit – a rarity since satellites are usually sold and purchased well before they leave the ground. It was launched last June aboard a Falcon 9v1.2FT, Block 5 and had been operating for about a year in a Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit when NanoAvionics announced the sale to an undisclosed Earth observation company.

D-2/Atlacom-1 is a CubeSat 6U carrying a hyperspectral imager, a star tracker, a TILE electrospray thruster, an X-band communications system and an X-band antenna for a performance test. It was the satellite’s hyperspectral imaging payload that drew the attention of its new owner which, according to NanoAvionics, was not involved in the satellite’s previous mission.

D-2/Atlacom-1 was ordered for production in 2019, Courtesy: NanoAvionics.

While in-orbit satellites sales are rare, they are not unheard of. In the last ten years there have been around 17 instances of satellites in space changing hands, according to the Seradata SpaceTrak database, excluding satellites purchased as part of company mergers and acquisitions. To give an idea of just how uncommon they are, these types of sale accounted for less than one per cent of the 2,712 active spacecraft recorded at the end of July 2020, when five in-orbit satellites were sold.

The most recent one was that of Xtar’s only satellite, Xtar-Eur, which it sold to Hisdesat in July 2020. Earlier in the year Australian new-space company Myriota agreed to pay exactEarth CAD$150,000 and CAD$450,000 worth of shares in exchange for four of its in-orbit satellites: EV1, EV6, EV9 and EV11.


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Boeing announces new range of satellite designs

Boeing has announced a new range of satellite designs. See the full story here.

Hyperbola lands in Manchester: European air and space 2009

Organised by the Council of European Aerospace Societies the conference has presentations on satellite servicing robotics, space debris, Mars sample Read more

AUDIO: Orbital Sciences chairman talks future of US space leadership

David Thompson, chairman and chief executive of Orbital Sciences, spoke at the Space Foundation's 25th National Space Symposium on 31 Read more

Has ESA’s Tomorrow’s Bird flown the coop?

Is the Tomorrow's Bird study report being sat on because its conclusions don't match other European hopes for spaceflight that Read more

NanoAvionics announces shared satellite mission to showcase new platform

Lithuanian small sat manufacturer NanoAvionics plans to showcase its new MP42 microsatellite platform with a multi-payload mission next year. It is Read more

NanoAvionics gets BROS radio-location twin CubeSat construction order

A consortium of Norwegian and Dutch research centres (Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) and Read more

Firefly to help build Antares 330 stage after Russian engine supply halted

Northrop Grumman Corporation and launch vehicle manufacturer Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Read more

On a sadder note: Goodbye Lieutenant Uhura

Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lt Nyota Uhura, communications officer to the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek science Read more