Spaceflight will launch 21 spacecraft on a rideshare mission from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) at India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center with the launch scheduled for Monday, April 1, 2019 Indian Standard Time (Sunday, March 31 PDT). Payloads aboard the mission include the Astrocast-02 3U cubesat from Swiss-based Astrocast and Flock 4a, 20 next-generation Dove satellites from Planet.
This launch represents Spaceflight’s eighth launch on a PSLV and with the completion of this mission, the company will have sent 95 spacecraft to orbit aboard PSLVs.
Spaceflight successfully launched the first test satellite of Astrocast’s IoT Nanosatellite Network on its historic SSO-A dedicated rideshare mission in December of 2018. Astrocast’s network of 64 cubesats will securely extend the reach of two-way communications to the 90 percent of the globe currently not covered by cellular networks. Using L-band frequencies, Astrocast’s small form factor modules, miniaturized antennas, and optimized data protocol make it the most advanced nanosatellite on the market today.
In what is Planet’s first launch of 2019, Flock 4a will join its current constellation of more than 100 Doves, replenishing the on-orbit fleet and providing upgrades to its imaging chain to improve image sharpness, radiometric consistency and spectral precision.
This mission marks Spaceflight’s second launch of 2019 and its first PSLV mission of the year following the successful launches of GTO-1, which deployed the first commercial lunar lander in February aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, and SSO-A, the company’s historic dedicated rideshare mission, which launched 64 unique smallsats in December of 2018. To date, the company has negotiated the launch of 224 satellites and has plans for approximately 10 missions in 2019 launching nearly 100 payloads across a wide variety of launch vehicles, include the Falcon 9, Antares, Electron, Vega, Soyuz, and LauncherOne.
Curt Blake, CEO of Spaceflight, stated that PSLV missions continue to offer a reliable and proven launch option for the company's customers. By working with Antrix/ISRO and a wide range of vehicle providers, Spaceflight is uniquely positioned to offer the greatest number of launch options to customers. Having greater flexibility in launches can minimize the negative impacts of delays which is especially valuable for organizations launching multiple spacecraft.