Accelerating the SmallSat Propulsion Market: Interview with Accion Systems CEO Natalya Bailey

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The ion Electrospray Propulsion System (iEPS) for CubeSats is shown here next to a US quarter for scale

Accion Systems is developing an electric propulsion system for small satellites. As the number of small satellites built and launched increases each year, Accion sees a growing opportunity for propulsion systems to guide those spacecraft once they reach orbit around Earth.

Continue reading

Despite U.S. Export Restrictions, Market for Commercialized Chinese Kuaizhou-11 Rocket Looks Strong

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Kuaizhou-11 launch vehicle.

Kuaizhou-11 launch vehicle.

China plans to start launching commercial payloads on its Kuaizhou-11 launch vehicle in 2017. The Kuaizhou-11, which first launched in 2013, is a solid-fuel rocket developed by China Sanjiang Space Group (CSSG). It was originally developed as a quick-reaction launch vehicle that could carry lightweight payloads into low-Earth orbit (LEO) with short notice. Continue reading

Satellogic Tops List of Largest Planned Commercial Remote-Sensing SmallSat Fleets

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Two Planet Labs Satellites Being Deployed from the ISS - Source: NASA

Two Planet Labs Satellites Being Deployed from the ISS – Source: NASA

Small satellites are the next exciting technology in the space industry. Once the domain of universities, spacecraft under 100 kilograms have caught on in the commercial sector. At least eight private companies have announced plans to build huge networks of SmallSats to provide remote-sensing imagery data to customers.

Continue reading