In-Space Missions and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) are partnering on a mission to fly a series of smallsats carrying hosted payloads of varying sizes.
Faraday features a spacecraft developed by SSTL, with In-Space Missions offering accommodations on the spacecraft for payloads ranging from 50 kilograms down to individual circuit boards. The circuit board slots are offered for $12,000.
”That’s great for universities, but it’s also pretty good for guys who want to get some test data from flying their new components.Said Doug LiddleChief Executive of In-Space Missions, in an interview during the 31st Annual Conference on Small Satellites.
Faraday also includes slots for single-unit cubesats for $120,000 each. Those payloads would remain attached to the spacecraft, but Liddle said that there may be future opportunities to deploy cubesats from the Faraday spacecraft.
The idea for Faraday came from experience on past missions, such as SSTL’s TechDemoSat, a smallsat launched in 2014 carrying a variety of payloads from the British space industry. That mission showed there was interest in flying something similar to test technologies and also provide commercial services for some of those payloads.
The first Faraday mission is scheduled for launch into a sun-synchronous orbit in the first quarter of 2019. On that mission, the spacecraft will operate all the payloads for a six-month demonstration and qualification period. After that, the bus can operate for up to five more years to serve one or more of the payloads, as negotiated with the customers.
The initial agreement for Faraday between SSTL and In-Space Missions covers three missions, launched once a year.
“Then we’ll see where we go from there.” said Liddle.