At the beginning of August, SpaceX revealed its new measures to offer cost-effective launch services for smallsats. In the month-end, the company has further announced that it would increase the number of launch operations and reduce the cost it proposes.
A few days back, the company announced that it would begin rideshare launch operations once per month in its revamped small-satellite rideshare program initiating from March 2020. The company has set a price of $1 Million for launching a payload (satellite) of 200 Kilograms.
In the previous announcement, the company mentioned that it would charge $2.25 Million for launching a 150-Kilogram smallsat, only if the deal was signed at least one year in advance. The launch cost would reach $3 Million if the deal were signed between six and twelve months from launch. The cost of launching 300-Kilogram satellites would be $4.5 Million and $6 Million, respectively, based on the same scenario.
The company also revealed its infrequent program with limited Falcon 9 launches to sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). The company has scheduled its first launch to SSO orbit between November 2020 and March 2021 and will conduct three launches every year.
On a similar note, Virgin Orbit, a company plans to provide smallsat launch services from later this year, is planning to effectively utilize its planes in future for deploying entire constellation within a few hours. The planes would provide fast-connectivity services between multiple spaceports.
The director of advanced concepts at Virgin Orbit, John Fuller, stated that the company would use air-connectivity for quick deployment of small satellites. He also discussed analytical studies describing various scenarios, in which the company would launch low Earth orbit satellites’ constellations for communications, imaging, and other applications.
Another hypothetical concept discussed by Fuller is the use of a portable launch platform. If this concept becomes a reality, then Virgin Orbit can conduct operations from any airport that would be capable of accommodating Boeing 747 aircraft.