Pixxel Picks To Ride Aboard Soyuz-2 Using Precious Payload’s Launch Booking Platform

With the support of Precious Payload’s launch booking and space mission management platform, Pixxel, an Indian space startup based in Bengaluru, has signed a launch contract with GK Launch Services, an operator of commercial launches of Soyuz-2 family launch vehicles.  Under the agreement, the first tech demo mission of Pixxel to be launched in Q2-Q3 2020 from Baikonur spaceport on GK-operated Soyuz-2 rocket. 

Baikonur spaceport

Pixxel is building a constellation of earth imaging satellites to provide global coverage every 24 hours. The startup is the only Asian participant in the Techstars Starbust Space Accelerator where it is working with JPL NASA, US Air Force, Lockheed Martin, SAIC and IAI among other space stalwarts.

Awais Ahmed, CEO of Pixxel

We have chosen GK Launch Services because it bundles all the services in one package, offering transparent and standard insurance products along with launch services to the customers. Moreover, the company helps to solve less evident but equally important issues that traditionally brokers do, such as separation systems, logistics support, and right up to visa support. At the same time, having trusted our launch management to Precious Payload team, we have opted for focusing on our product and clients.’

Alexander Serkin, CEO of GK Launch Services

We are pleased that Pixxel has chosen the most reliable launch vehicle, Soyuz-2*, in the world for injecting their satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit. The smallsat launch market is gaining progress rapidly – new solutions are appearing that help customers find a provider of launch, integration, insurance and other related services. The team of GK Launch Services pays great attention to such solutions. The approach of Precious Payload to space mission management using modern IT-platform software helps customers be more informed about the advantages of cooperation with this or that launch provider. It is a useful tool for quick and better communication with our potential customers and the industry in whole.’

Andrey Maksimov, CEO of Precious Payload

‘We are happy that Pixxel has found GK Launch Services through our online platform. It will be a good test for our new service model for complete space mission management. In the growing small satellite market, launch providers are eager to make a product that provides comprehensive turn-key solutions for smallsat customers. GK Launch Services have developed an innovative online price calculator that meets market demand. The company also solves one of the key issues in the space sector, which is the provision of chain management.’


*The only launcher that delivers cosmonauts and astronauts to the ISS.

More info about the contract Pixxel signed with GK Launch Services you could find in the official press release: http://gklaunch.ru/en/news/soyuz-2-to-launch-first-demo-mission-for-pixxel-constellation-of-india/

Space Taxi for Your Satellite – Part II

Interview with Negar Feher, VP of Product and Business Development of Momentus

At the beginning of the summer, we have had an amazing tour to Momentus facilities, a space tug factory in Silicon Valley. We continue our #knowyouroptions series to feature NewSpace entrepreneurs and inspire more people to join the space race with an interesting conversation with Negar Feher, VP of Product and Business Development of Momentus. She has taken us on a tour, has introduced the team, and has given us a big #knowyouroptions interview.

Continue reading “Space Taxi for Your Satellite – Part II”

Space Taxi for Your Satellite – Part I

Visiting Momentus factory in Silicon Valley

In early June our partners, California-based startup Momentus, invited Precious Payload team to their factory. Momentus is a developing in-space shuttle service, using safe water-plasma propulsion technology, for taking satellites from where the rockets drop them off to a custom orbit. Negar Feher, VP of Product and Business Development of Momentus, has taken us on a tour, has introduced the team, and has given us a big #knowyouroptions interview.

Continue reading “Space Taxi for Your Satellite – Part I”

Precious Payload advances from launch booking to mission management, raises funding from a UAE-based fund

LOGAN, UTAH, August 2, 2019, — Precious Payload, now a digital service to manage space missions, announces the pre-seed funding round led by a UAE-based investment firm Forte Mare.

Precious Payload was founded in the USA back in 2017 as a launch booking platform for small satellites. Since then it has connected over 100 space missions to over 25 launch providers through its online service, generating several hundred thousand US dollars of revenue in subscriptions and commissions. This August, the company announces it is changing its business model to deliver complete mission management via an online platform. 

«We had an idea of building a digital freight-forwarder since the early days but decided to focus on launch to prove our software-only approach. The current hype cycle of investment in hardware will end soon, and the market will try to leverage technology to create sustainable businesses. Digital service to fast-track a tech demo or get to the revenue is an ideal way to build a space business.» — says Andrey Maksimov, the company’s CEO.

«Imagine a team of experts that runs those RFI/RFPs for you, navigates through various launch scenarios, connects ground stations, deals with all the paperwork and licenses. Now wrap this all into the online service that keeps everyone on the same page and visualizes all the current and next steps to get your business into space. This is what we are building here.» — says Daria Ryzhkova, the company Chief Product Officer.

To showcase the advantages of the new product, Precious Payload features a first client of the new approach. Pixxel, a satellite constellation and the only Asian participant in an inaugural Techstars Starburst accelerator led by US Air Force, has entrusted Precious Payload to manage their first tech demo mission to be launched in Q4 2020. «Working with the team behind Precious Payload is like a breath of fresh air. You are always aware of what is going on, what are the next steps, what are your options. It enables us to liberate more time and resources to talk to our customers and build our product.» — says Awais Ahmed, the CEO of Pixxel.

Precious Payload delivers the service through the range of industry partners, including Momentus Space, GK Launch Services, Orbital Transports, and others to be announced soon. The company hosts a side meeting on Wednesday, Aug 6, to present the roadmap of the product.

«The team behind Precious Payload has a great track record of building successful cross-border online businesses in regulated industries. We think software companies in Smallsat sector have a unique opportunity to deliver the service globally while keeping overheads low and outpacing the traditional hardware approach.» — says Mike Afonskiy, an asset manager of Forte Mare fund.  

Forte Mare is a private investment vehicle, based in the United Arab Emirates and deploying capital into both private equity and public markets. The fund leads the investment round of undisclosed amount into Precious Payload, which has also been supported by the number of international angel investors.

20+ ways to get to space and beam the data for your business

Why so many entrepreneurs are secretly dreaming about starting a business in space and so few are ending up with building a company? Our guess – wrong thinking ruins many of the great ideas: those who never tried to launch anything to space tend to think that industry barriers are still enormous, launch options are limited to direct injections and a few American, Indian and Russian launch vehicles exist. While the reality is blooming with options and opportunities. 

A little outdated for the year 2019 “Rockets of the world” poster by Tyler Skrabek
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Finding a launch is getting easier even with special orbital requirements

Problem: They say you have to wait up to two years to get the right flight for your specific orbit 🤷‍♀️ 🤷‍♂️.

Solution: ION Carrier is a free-flying CubeSat dispenser capable of delivering satellites to higher altitudes, different orbits, and orbital planes. It is compatible with all the existing launch vehicles and extends current launchers capabilities. Hence you have a wider variety of launches to choose from!

Continue reading “Finding a launch is getting easier even with special orbital requirements”

Smallsat Insurance 101

A satellite is a very valuable asset. It is made to order, extremely fragile and a complex piece of engineering. It must endure the stresses of the launch and then must operate in an alien environment and cannot be fixed if something goes wrong. Therefore, obtaining specialist insurance cover from an insurer that has a deep understanding of the industry is essential for any commercial smallsat operator who is aiming to bring revenue in from its small satellites.

Source: XL Insurance

In a nutshell, there are two principal types of satellite insurance. The first is pre-launch and launch, which covers loss, damage or failure before, during or in the first year if the satellite’s operations – the most critical phases of the satellite’s life. If something does go wrong, it would be most likely to occur during these phases. During post-in-orbit testing, the chances of the satellite failing tend to fall significantly.
Continue reading “Smallsat Insurance 101”

Time for SmallSat insurance market to change

In the overview of this year’s Small Satellite Conference, Jeff Foust showed how the demand for SmallSat insurance was growing due to the contraction in the GEO market. Even the big satellite operators like Planet and Spire, who were pulling back from insurance earlier, have shown their interest on a launch-by-launch basis. In response to this market need, we have created an online insurance service. Our colleague from AON, Mike Vinter, has explained why insuring a SmallSat won’t be a pain of the launch campaign, due to these new algorithms developed collaboratively.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 27, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine and on the SpaceNews website on October 4, 2018. The full version is available here.

space_insurance
Photo credit: https://spacenews.com

“GEO satellite orders are down quite a bit, so we’re looking to get some additional premium income for the space insurance industry,” said Mike Vinter, executive vice president with AON Risk Solutions. Continue reading “Time for SmallSat insurance market to change”