Spaceflight Industries is attempting to reinvent the ways that we send satellites up into space. The key ingredients to it all? A SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket that the company has recently purchased and a satellite ridesharing initiative that the company has coined the 2017 Sun Synch Express mission.
Based in Seattle, Wash., Spaceflight's goals are to make the process of launching satellites more cost-effective and accessible, and according to a press release issued by the company, that's exactly what the SpaceX rocket is meant to do. Curt Blake, Spaceflight's launch sector president, is confident about their buy:
"By purchasing and manifesting the entire SpaceX rocket, Spaceflight is well-positioned to meet the smallsat industry's growing demand for routine, reliable access to space. Our purchase of a private rocket further continues our mission of providing a customer-focused, full-service launch experience."
The rocket itself is produced by – you guessed it – SpaceX, which is owned by business magnate and engineer Elon Musk. Because the rocket is a "two-stage," it can both deliver and return its cargo, making it perfect for ridesharing possibilities. The Falcon 9 can purportedly also launch humans up into space, which was also one of the major intents of its design.
Like Spaceflight, SpaceX is also pleased with the business deal. "Dedicated missions for Rideshare-class payloads are an excellent way to promote space enterprise and research," said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and COO. "We are pleased that Spaceflight has successfully brought this multifaceted partnership together."
As it's name suggests, Spaceflight's 2017 Sun Synch Express program will begin in the second half of 2017. The company says the manifest is nearly full, with more than 20 satellites scheduled to be deployed in a low-Earth orbit during the mission, ranging from commercial customers to scientific research originating from six countries.