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NanoAvionics’ built satellite for Aurora Insight to fly on SpaceX’s Transporter 1 mission

(19 January 2021 - NanoAvionics) NanoAvionics has announced that the first of two nanosatellites, built and integrated for US radio frequency spectrum and wireless data provider Aurora Insight, will be part of SpaceX’s “Transporter 1” rideshare launch onboard a Falcon 9.

The nanosatellite, nicknamed “Charlie”, forms one half of the two-satellite mission contract awarded to NanoAvionics by Aurora Insight, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, with both to become part of their data gathering infrastructure.

Aurora Insight uses satellite-based sensor technology to detect spectrum usage and interference around the globe. Using its custom processing, Aurora creates accurate information on the health and availability of radio frequency spectrum and wireless infrastructure, measuring 5G, LTE, IoT, 3G/2G, Wi-Fi and TV signals. This information enables mobile network operators, mobile service operators, tower companies, and RF spectrum users to innovate and invest in wireless networks, resulting in stronger connections for communities and smarter industries.

NanoAvionics’ contract with Aurora includes building and integrating the two nanosatellites, “Bravo” and “Charlie” as well as providing launch and operation services. Both 6U nanosatellites are based on NanoAvionics’ standard M6P bus in a higher performance configuration, providing greater technical performance capabilities for Aurora’s radio frequency spectrum mission. The launch of the second satellite will take place during the first quarter of 2021.

“Transporter 1” is the first fully dedicated rideshare launch for nanosats and microsats as part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program in 2021. It is also one of the largest and most diverse rideshare missions with a great number of small satellites flying to orbit, including 30 small satellites from the U.S. and Europe being integrated by German space company Exolaunch.

Vytenis J. Buzas, CEO of NanoAvionics said: “2020 has been a fantastic year for NanoAvionics and it’s great to start this new year with another great mission and launch. 90 percent of our contracts are for full missions that include satellite bus manufacturing, payload integration, launch and operation, and other services. All our past and current missions have helped us to gain the necessary experience in delivering to our customers what their businesses and the entire space industry are ultimately focused on – downstream data provision. I’m looking forward to more exciting missions and launches this year.”

Besides the satellites, with the first demo-satellite launched in 2018, Aurora’s infrastructure includes sensors on vehicles, aircrafts, buildings and other objects. The sensors detect, measure and observe interferences of radio waves, providing a comprehensive overview of the wireless spectrum around the world.

Jennifer Alvarez, CEO of Aurora Insight said: “This satellite will give us access to a whole new set of data on the radio frequency spectrum and further our understanding of global wireless infrastructure, enabling organizations to invest, grow, and move forward. NanoAvionics has been an incredibly skillful and cost-effective partner in building the two nanosatellites, integrating the payload and providing launch and operation services.”

Both of NanoAvionics’ 6U nanosatellites are based on its flight-proven M6P bus and include a higher performance configuration to provide more power through deployable panels and the most precise method for pointing and navigation in nanosats by an added star tracker subsystem.

“Making custom modifications like this for our customers is an easy and thus cost-effective procedure due to the modular design of all our nanosatellite buses, sub-systems, hard- and software as well as mission services and operations.”

To integrate the 30 small satellites, including NanoAvionics’, for the “Transporter 1” mission, Exolaunch used its flexible multi-satellite adapter EXOport, and its separation systems EXOpod and CarboNIX.

Jeanne Medvedeva, vice president of launch services at Exolaunch said: “This is our second integration mission with NanoAvionics, combining their flight-proven and reliable nanosatellite buses with our expertise for rideshare missions and orbital deployment. Working on launch preparations alongside NanoAvionics has been a very smooth operation for us because we both have a substantial flight heritage and share the same notion of placing the customer at the center of every launch service experience.”

About NanoAvionics

NanoAvionics is a nanosatellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator currently having five hubs across the US, Lithuania and the UK. Its flagship multi-purpose M6P, M12P and M16P are the first preconfigured nanosatellite buses in the sector, designed to serve emerging commercial space markets. The company’s efforts are focused on enabling critical satellite functions and optimising their launch, hardware and operation costs - ranging from single missions to constellations. Its core engineering team has implemented over 85 successful satellite missions and commercial projects during the past several years.

About Aurora Insight

Aurora Insight offers accurate, impartial insights on the radio frequency spectrum to inform the next generation of wireless services. Through an autonomous sensor network and machine learning of radio signals, Aurora continuously samples and reports on the radio frequency spectrum, from licensed infrastructure to dynamic utilization, enabling the best use of this scarce commodity. Companies around the globe rely on Aurora Insight's unmatched data to help analyze, predict, transform and answer questions about the next generation of applications. Headquartered in Denver, CO and funded by the country’s top innovation investors, Aurora Insight is pushing the boundaries to help advance global communications. The team is composed of data scientists, engineers, and industry veterans, who leverage a deep expertise and understanding of the challenges that face the communications industry.

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch provides rideshare launch and deployment services for New Space companies. Its flight heritage includes the successful deployment of 110 small satellites into orbit through its global network of launch vehicle providers. Exolaunch enables the visions of the New Space leaders, the world’s innovative startups, research institutions, government organizations, and space agencies. The company also manufactures in-house flight-proven separation systems to deliver the best-in-class integration services and deployment for small satellites.