Astrocast has ordered the launch of 20 nanosatellites from Italian new-space company D-Orbit.
Through multiple missions over the course of three years, D-Orbit will arrange the launch of the Swiss company’s nanosatellites aboard the ION Satellite Carrier, D-Orbit’s orbital transfer vehicle (OTV).
The first mission under the multiple-launch agreement, which was signed by the companies last week, is set to take place in November 2022 at the earliest. Four 3U Astrocast satellites will be launched on D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier on a SpaceX Falcon 9 and placed at a 500-600-kilometer Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). The Italian company intends to launch another six 6U satellites for Astrocast in 2023, with 10 more planned for 2024, as part of the three-year agreement.
The move comes as Astrocast, which has 12 active 3U satellites already, looks to expand its satellite network to 20 by the end of the year, and to 40 satellites in 2023.
D-Orbit’s ION (InOrbit NOW) Satellite Carrier, which first flew in 2020, uses its own propulsion system to place smallsats into precise orbital slots, reducing the time from launch to operations and satellite constellation launch costs.