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NorthStar Earth & Space, Spire Satellites to Launch With Virgin Orbit in 2023 

By Rachel Jewett | October 31, 2022

      Virgin Orbit’s “Above the Clouds” launch on Jan. 13, 2022. Photo: Virgin Orbit

      Virgin Orbit will launch satellites for Spire Global, including three satellites dedicated to the NorthStar Earth & Space space situational awareness (SSA) constellation, in mid-2023. 

      NorthStar is using Spire’s space services to deploy its constellation of 24 satellites through the Spire space infrastructure. It aims to monitor all near-Earth orbits from space and to deliver object detection, tracking, orbit determination, collision avoidance, navigation, and proximity alerts to the satellite community. 

      NorthStar signed the Spire deal in March 2022 for the initial three satellites, with the option to scale the constellation. 

      “NorthStar is proud to join forces with both Spire Global and Virgin Orbit for this historic first launch, as part of a vibrant community committed to advancing innovation in the service of space sustainability and the secure growth of the space economy,” said Stewart Bain, CEO and founder of NorthStar. “We deliver valuable information that enhances the detection and precision tracking of space objects across all near-Earth orbits to support sustainability, greater safety, and confidence in space operations.”

      NorthStar has a number of partnerships in place for space situational awareness, including with Astroscale, Telespazio, and SES. The company recently announced plans with Astroscale to collaborate to advance in-space situational awareness services that can support is collaboration will advance specific ISSA services required to support capturing spacecraft for on-orbit servicing.