Space launch and satellite orders in April

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Launches, Satellites, Seradata News

Lots of military space orders – mostly small ones –  were announced during April 2024. Many were revealed at one of the military space conferences during the month, including the Space Symposium, Colorado Springs, USA. There were also some large non-military orders including the formal signing of the €522 million (US$567 million) ExoMars 2024 contract for the team building the Rosalind Franklin rover and Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Module (EDLM). The contract was awarded to team leader Thales Alenia Space.

The largest of the military contracts was a US$414 million order for eight hypersonic missile tracking satellites for the FOO-Fighter constellation from the Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems.

Artist’s illustration showing FOO-Fighter constellation of hypersonic missile tracking satellites. Courtesy: Millennium Space Systems

Of the military launch orders, Rocket Lab Electron won the STP-S30 DiskSat test satellite launch to take place in 2026

Rocket Lab (with its Electron rocket) and True Anomaly (building its Jackal spacecraft) jointly won a US military Victus Haze quick deployment demo mission. Agile Space is providing the propulsion for the mission.

There wasn’t such good news for Relativity Space which confirmed that its Terran R rocket won’t fly until 2026, meaning it can’t bid for US military launch contracts

Astrobotic confirmed its plan to launch a very small rover dubbed CubeRover with Mission Control software on board on Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar lander. The lander is also carrying a rover for NASA called Viper.

On the small satellite launch contracts front, NASA’s ESCAPADE Mars mission is booked on Blue Origin’s New Glenn

Having previously taken part in studies, Kepler has joined the Airbus Defence and Space team to bid for the ESA HydRON laser communications demonstration mission ahead of the planned HydRON optical data relay constellation

An SAIC/GomSpace team has won a contract to built a small AI technology demonstration satellite for the US Department of Defense.

While it declined to identify them, Muon Space notes that it is building ten small satellites for other users

Sejong-2 and -3 remote sensing satellites are ordered by Hancom InSpace from Spire

Portal Space Systems plans new spacecraft bus called Supernova using solar thermal propulsion for demo mission in late 2025.

New order for Konsberg for a three sat N3X maritime surveillance constellation using NanoAvionics bus to serve Norwegian Intelligence Service.

Japan commits to building and launching its OHISAMA power generation and transmission spacecraft

Meanwhile, Airbus DS commits to the creation of a new class of Pleiades NEO imaging sats dubbed Pleiades NEO NEXT

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