[SatNews] Spaceflight Inc. has successfully deployed 11 Planet Labs Dove Earth-imaging spacecraft from an International Space Company (ISC), Kosmotras-operated, Dnepr launch vehicle.
Spaceflight previously deployed Planet Labs’ Dove 1 and 2 satellites in April of 2013 from an Orbital Sciences’ Antares launch vehicle, as well as its Flock 1 constellation from the International Space Station in January of 2014 with partner NanoRacks. Spaceflight then arranged for the launch of 11 more Dove spacecraft from the Dnepr vehicle through partner Innovative Solutions in Space (ISIS). The additional 11 CubeSats will complement the existing Planet Labs constellation of 3U imaging spacecraft.
Using its expertise in navigating International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and export law and in the most recent export challenges around shipping ITAR-controlled hardware to Russia, Spaceflight arranged for Planet Labs’ U.S. payload to be exported to Russia for launch integration. On June 19, 2014, at 19:11 UTC, the Dnepr launch vehicle lifted off via its RD-264 first-stage engine. All 11 Dove spacecraft were successfully deployed roughly 30 minutes after first-stage ignition.
“We are excited to launch 11 more satellites, which brings the total number of Dove satellites launched to 43," said Mike Safyan, director of launch and regulatory at Planet Labs. "Through our unique approach to satellite design and frequency of launch, the satellites in orbit continue to get better and better."
“SmallSat constellations are a critical, growing piece of the space economy,” said Curt Blake, president of Spaceflight. “We are thrilled to expand our launch heritage with Planet Labs and ISC Kosmotras to enable the cost-effective and timely launch of small satellites.”
Spaceflight has launched 47 satellites over one-and-a-half year period of time, helping to grow the burgeoning smallsat industry. Spaceflight’s next launch is scheduled for early July 2014 onboard Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus Orb-2 mission.
For more information on this launch and about Spaceflight’s “rideshare” launch services, please visit http://www.spaceflightservices.com.
Please visit http://www.planet.com/ for additional information regarding Planet Labs.