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Sky and Space Global signs launch deal

Sky and Space Global signs launch deal with Virgin Galactic Sky and Space Global, the nanosatellite startup that listed on the Australian Securities Exchange earlier this year to secure capital, has finalised a binding launch services agreement with Virgin Galactic.

SSG had already announced Virgin as launch partner; the new contract will secure four dedicated missions on Virgin’s LauncherOne system from 2018. Each of the four launches will carry multiple nanosats to help quickly set up SSG’s planned second-stage low-orbit constellation of up to 200 satellites. While LauncherOne is a dedicated vehicle for small satellites, SSG’s flights are the first missions using the craft that are planned to fly from low latitudes.

As previously reported by CommsDay, SSG is initially looking to launch three proofof-concept nanosats in the middle of next year, with the Virgin launch not long afterwards then setting up the main constellation.

Between the relatively low launch costs for the small-scale nanosats and planned opex savings through proprietary tech – adapted from mobile cellular networks – that promises to almost completely obviate the need for space to ground communications for managing the fleet, SSG expects to be able to substantially undercut more traditional satellite players. Petroc Wilton