COLORADO SPRINGS — After placing more than 60 satellites into orbit on a single Falcon 9 last year, Spaceflight says it will focus on launching smaller numbers of satellites at a time on more launches this year.
The Seattle-based company, best known for arranging launches of small satellites as secondary payloads on larger launch vehicles, purchased a Falcon 9 for a mission called SSO-A SmallSat Express. That dedicated launch, which took place in December from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carried 64 smallsats from a variety of commercial and government customers.
While the mission was a success, the challenge of dealing with so many satellites makes it unlikely Spaceflight will attempt such a large mission again in the near future, said Curt Blake, chief executive of Spaceflight, in an April 9 interview during the 35th Space Symposium here.
“That’s probably the upper limit of what it makes sense to do,” he said. “It’s difficult to get that much of demand and have that all come together on one launch at one point in time.”
The problem, he said, is the “constant churn” of customers who move off the mission because their satellites are not ready while others seek new ...