With this most recent announcement, Spire is now one of the most diverse launch partners in the world. It is part of our business strategy to launch as often as possible, across all launch providers. In five years, we have launched more than 80 satellites across 18 launches, up to six times a year. Our nano-satellites are built to be small and versatile, meaning they can be shipped for low cost anywhere in the world, across virtually all launch vehicles. Spire’s LEMUR satellites have flown on Antares, Atlas-5, and H-IIB ISS cargo missions, Ukraine’s Dnepr, India’s PSLV, Russia’s Soyuz, and Rocket Lab’s Electron. This means we have flown out of six countries: United States, Japan, Ukraine, India, Russia, and New Zealand. Through our partnership with Arianespace, we’re adding another launch vehicle (Vega) and another location to this list (French Guiana). This will make our first Vega flight both the 7th country and 8th launch vehicle - a record by every measure that we’ve been able to quantify.
Arianespace is testing Vega in a proof-of-concept flight as part of ESA’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service program. In January 2018, Spire satellites flew on a similar, successful proof-of-concept mission on the second test launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle. Spire’s ability to build up to two nano-satellites per week allows us to take advantage of both proven and new launch vehicles, helping test new missions and push the smallsat launch market forward. Internally, we run comprehensive analysis on the risks of using new launch vehicles and agreements are carefully vetted. But being a part of innovative programs is part of the newspace spirit, and one of the reasons Spire has been able to come so far.
We don’t see ourselves as customers to the launch industry, but as partners. Our nano-satellites, and the ability to turn them out quickly and inexpensively, allows launch providers to test new methods of sending maturing technology into space. Newspace cannot operate without launch, and launch cannot operate without us. Vega is the natural next step for Spire to efficiently build a dynamic satellite constellation that can meet far more than just the basic needs of actors in global trade and weather prediction.