Spaceflight to Launch U-Class Payloads for NASA
The NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has awarded Spaceflight its first contract for launch and integration services. The multi-year contract covers launch services in 2018 for a maximum of 24 U-Class payloads, with options to provide launch services for up to 24 additional payloads in 2019 and 2020. The potential total contract value is more than $5 million, according to Spaceflight.
U-Class payloads are miniature space research satellites that typically use Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) electronic components. The U-Class payloads flown by NASA, often created by universities and nonprofit organizations, play a foundational role in the agency’s technology development and include investigations in planetary exploration, Earth Observation (EO), and fundamental Earth and space science.
Spaceflight works with many global launch vehicle providers, brokering rides on SpaceX’s Falcon 9, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), ISC Kosmotras’ Dnepr, Orbital ATK’s Antares and Cygnus, Rocket Lab’s Electron, Arianespace’s Soyuz and others, to ensure organizations can access space when they want. The “rideshare service” model provides more options for organizations to reach a desired orbit at a potentially lower cost than buying their own launch vehicle.