Kepler Communications, on December 11, said it booked 400 kilograms of rideshare capacity with SpaceX to launch a number of its Internet of Things CubeSat next year.
Toronto stationed Kepler reserved room on two Falcon 9 missions, though the contract permits for flying Kepler’s satellites on fewer missions than that.
Bottoms rejected to say how many satellites Kepler would launch on the SpaceX rideshare programs. However, he stated that the SpaceX rideshare and Kepler’s other launch contracts provide enough rides to low Earth orbit for the agency’s “Gen-1” constellation of 15 CubeSats.
After sending two prototypes last year, Kepler’s first service-grade satellites are scheduled to launch mid-2020 on a Soyuz rocket booked through Glavkosmos.
The SpaceX rideshares will follow the Soyuz mission later in 2020.
Kepler plans to scale its so-called Internet of Things (IoT) constellation to reach 140 satellites in 2023, utilizing CubeSats to transfer data traffic to and from ships, oil rigs, farm equipment, and equipment in numerous other industries.
Bottoms stated the Kepler’s Falcon 9 rideshare contract “roughly aligns” with the $1 million price SpaceX lists for 200 kilograms of rideshare capability. The agreement covers accommodations on two secondary payload adapters currently slated to launch on different missions, Bottoms stated.
Kepler is now contemplating rideshares for a more significant portion of its constellation deployment, he stated, however, hasn’t eradicated plans to use dedicated small launch vehicles eventually.
Kepler, in selecting SpaceX, opted to put aside its disappointment about Starlink, the broadband LEO constellation SpaceX started deploying this year by launching the first 120 of 12,000 satellites.