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Rideshare demand grows despite development of small launch vehicles

23 June 2017

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Despite the ongoing development of a fleet of small launch vehicles, both launch providers and customers continue to see demand for flying small satellites as secondary payloads on larger rockets.

The latest example of rideshare launch services took place early June 23, with the launch of an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). That rocket, in addition to its primary payload of a Cartosat-2 imaging satellite, carried 30 small satellites from 15 countries as secondary payloads.

PSLV has emerged as a leading provider of rideshare services for smallsats, but it is not the only player. During a panel discussion at the annual Small Payload Rideshare Symposium at the Applied Physics Laboratory here June 14, representatives of several launch providers discussed ongoing plans to provide accommodations for secondary payloads.


Image credit: ISRO - Satish Dhawan Space Centre, India

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