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Mon, Sep 27, 2021

Spaceflight Offers Rideshare Opportunities Via Sherpa Orbital Transfer Vehicle

First Lunar and GEO Rideshare Mission: “GEO Pathfinder”

Spaceflight has revealed a breakthrough cislunar rideshare mission: “GEO Pathfinder.” As a secondary payload on board Intuitive Machines’ IM-2 South Pole Mission, Spaceflight will offer rideshare opportunities in trans-lunar orbit, low-lunar orbit and beyond to geosynchronous equatorial orbit.

Spaceflight will utilize a lunar flyby with its new propulsive transfer vehicle, Sherpa EScape, to deliver a payload from GeoJump that contains an Orbit Fab in-space fueling payload. The mission has a tentative launch date on a SpaceX Falcon 9 -- no earlier than Q4 2022.

Spaceflight’s rideshare missions allow customers to quickly access lunar orbits affordably. 

“This mission will demonstrate our complete mission toolbox and ability to execute complex, groundbreaking and exciting missions beyond LEO,” said Grant Bonin, SVP of business development at Spaceflight. “Spaceflight will utilize a launch with a creative trajectory and our best-in-class propulsion system to slingshot around the Moon, allowing us to deliver payloads to GEO in an environmentally safe manner. We’re pleased to take Orbit Fab on this pathfinder mission and leverage the secondary payload capacity from Intuitive Machines. Spaceflight is committed to being the leading space transportation provider for Earth orbit and beyond, and this is an unprecedented example of delivering on that vision.”

“Offering rideshare missions to GEO is a real game changer for the smallsat industry,” said Meagan Crawford, co-founder and managing partner at SpaceFund, an investor in GeoJump, Orbit Fab, and 17 other space startups. “When we presented the idea of accessing GEO via rideshare with Spaceflight to our portfolio companies -- as early as 2022, the response was overwhelming. What used to be part of a long-term strategy for many of these companies is now a short-term reality. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Spaceflight to push the boundaries beyond LEO for the industry while building tremendous value for our portfolio companies today.”

Bonin adds, “We can now offer customers an order of magnitude more opportunities to springboard smallsats to orbital destinations never before possible. We’re already seeing tremendous demand for these ground-breaking missions and are excited to work with others who push the envelope of innovation beyond LEO.”

Spaceflight has flown two different missions in 2021, successfully deploying all 50 customer spacecraft. 

FMI: https://spaceflight.com

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