Aerospacelab launched the first Belgian private commercial satellite
Brussels, June 30, 2021:
Aerospacelab launched its first satellite with launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. aboard SpaceX Transporter-2 mission on a Falcon 9 rocket.
Aerospacelab’s Risk Reduction Flight (RRF) mission introduces the first 100% Belgian and privately developed commercial satellite launched into space. It is also an important milestone for the company: it is Aerospacelab’s first spacecraft (callsign : Arthur) in orbit. The goal of the mission is to test and demonstrate important technologies developed in-house and key building blocks necessary for Aerospacelab’s future constellations.
The lessons learned from the RRF mission will feed the future designs of satellites, ground stations, instruments and software. RRF will also be able to test all operational processes and flows when applied to In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) satellites.
The Risk Reduction Flight (RRF) mission will test and validate Aerospacelab’s proprietary technologies in orbit.
Aerospacelab’s RRF mission objective is threefold:
- Put in service a high resolution optical payload.
- Gain flight heritage for the in-house developed equipment, including optical communications.
- Verify the capability to maneuver the spacecraft thanks to the Micro Propulsion System from Exotrail.
A stepping stone for more ambitious plans.
RRF opens the way for Aerospacelab’s satellite constellation plans. The next step for the company is to build two constellations composed of smallsats (100-150kg) manufactured in its Louvain-La-Neuve factory. The first constellation is composed of companion satellites to Copernicus’ Sentinel-2 mission, generating multispectral imagery. The second constellation will focus on acquiring Very High Resolution (VHR) imagery (50cm/pixel).
An important milestone for the whole sector.
“Aerospacelab is a fine example of the extent of Wallonia’s entrepreneurial potential when its talent is matched by its ambition. We are proud to have contributed to this first historic moment and we look forward to continuing the development of this future European leader in geospatial intelligence.”
Investment Manager, Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie (SRIW)
“As Federal Secretary of State for Science Policy, responsible for space policy in our country, I am delighted with the launch of the Arthur satellite by Aerospacelab. It marks an important moment in the rich history of the space industry in Belgium: it is indeed the first time that a “new space” satellite is entirely developed and produced in our country. I would like to congratulate all the teams who worked on this ambitious project.
In this period of rapid technological evolution, I will ensure that the Belgian government continues to support the cutting-edge expertise developed in our companies, and promotes the emergence and development of promising companies, of which Aerospacelab is a spearhead.”
Secretary of State for Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Science Policy
“We admire Aerospacelab’s innovative and exciting mission and were honored to partner with the organization for its first launch. The launch process is a complicated one, especially when executing it for the first time and on an international launch. We were glad to serve as a resource to the Aerospacelabs team so they could focus on the success of their upcoming mission.”
CEO and president of Spaceflight Inc.
About SRIW SA
SRIW (Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie) provides equity and/or debt to companies that generate added value and employment in Wallonia.
For the last 40 years, SRIW has been facilitating the region’s economic development, contributing effectively to the modernisation, growth and restructuring of the businesses that make up the Walloon industrial network.
Aerospacelab contracted launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. to manage the launch aboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 mission. The mission, dubbed ‘SXRS-5’ by Spaceflight, will be the first time the company flies two different orbital transportation vehicles (OTVs) and will be the launch of the industry’s first-ever electric propulsion vehicle, Sherpa-LTE1.
Aerospacelab is a Belgian company founded in 2018 by Benoit Deper, currently employing more than 70 people. Aerospacelab has expertise both in hardware (satellites, subsystems, and components) and in data processing (extraction of actionable insights from satellite data). With two main constellations in the works, Aerospacelab ambitions to enhance efficiency across various markets, by making geospatial intelligence affordable and actionable.