SmallSat Express - A future European launch facility for small satellites
To meet the increasing need for launch opportunities for small satellites, CubeSats in particular, SSC has initiated SmallSat Express, a European launch capability for small satellites from its launching facility Esrange Space Center. SmallSat Express is part of a bigger project with the aim to manifest Esrange as a center of excellence providing a multitude of services, including small satellite launch services, to the scientific community as well as commercial customers.
The facility already has a well-equipped infrastructure and staff with experience of range and launch safety as well as handling large rocket motors and launching of guided rockets. Apart from the launch service for small satellites, coordinated measurements using satellites, sounding rockets, balloons, and ground instrumentation will be possible.
Esrange will be a “green” launch site, meaning that Hydrazine will be banned. The goal is to launch the first satellite in 2022.
Payload and Orbit details
The launch service is intended for up to 150 kg satellites; however, CubeSats are the target payloads.
Launch periods will be available throughout the year, with a planned maximum of four launches annually.
The service will enable orbits suitable for sun-synchronous, polar LEO satellites. By using the launch service on consecutive launches, a constellation of satellites covering every local time can be established.