Australian space services company Skykraft has reached an agreement to launch its new 300-kilogram air traffic management satellite on SpaceX’s upcoming SmallSat Rideshare Transporter-5 mission.
UNSW Canberra City hopes its air traffic management satellites will improve the safety of aircraft flying around the world.
The satellite will be launched aboard Elon Musk’s space company, Elon Musk’s Transporter-5 mission, which is currently scheduled for liftoff in mid-2022.
The Transporter missions are part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, which allows governments, researchers and private companies to send small objects into space in a joint launch, at prices starting at $ 1 million. dollars.
Skykraft chief executive James Prior said last year that the planned constellation, which will eventually grow to 210, will be connected to satellites on the ground.
“This will help provide a seamless data flow around the world,” Prior said.
“It eliminates the need for ground infrastructure and antennas, and will be able to see over large bodies of water and communication with the aircraft is the same.”
Current Skykraft Executive Chairman Mark Skidmore has said SpaceX is now the most reliable launch provider in the world.
“We also commend the SpaceX team for their transformative approach to launching small satellites and the rapid pace of their carpooling opportunities,” he said.
Skykraft also offers the ability for small hosted payloads to follow this launch and beyond.
The company received $ 1 million from the ACT government in September 2019 to help develop the technology.
Last month, SpaceX successfully completed its second Carpool mission on Transporter-2 and deployed 88 new satellites into space.
SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rocket, B1060, launched Transporter-2 from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral space station in Florida on June 30 at 3:31 p.m. EDT.
Transporter-2 carried a payload of 85 small commercial and government satellites, as well as three of SpaceX’s own Starlink satellites.
While the payload was smaller than the space company’s previous carpooling mission, Transporter-1, SpaceX said that mission launched more mass into orbit than the previous mission.
The launch marked SpaceX’s 20th for the year and its eighth flight for the Falcon 9 first-stage booster. The launch also brings the total number of orbital objects launched by SpaceX to over 900 this year alone.
The thruster returned to earth about 10 minutes after launch in SpaceX’s Concrete Landing Zone 1, unlike other recent launches that landed on dedicated drones in the ocean.
The payload was then pushed into Earth orbit from pole to pole by the second stage of the Falcon 9 booster.