Wyvern, the Edmonton based company who have developed hyperspectral imaging technology, today announced that they are teaming up with Loft Orbital to expand the data collection capacity of their Dragonette constellation.
Wyvern currently has two Dragonette small satellites on orbit, the most recent launched on the SpaceX Transporter-8 mission on June 12. An additional satellite, designated Dragonette-003 is scheduled to launch later this year, possibly on the SpaceX Transporter-9 mission scheduled no earlier than November.
Loft Orbital calls itself “a space infrastructure company” offering turnkey solutions. In this case Loft will launch a hyperspectral satellite in 2024 and Wyvern will purchase access to the data for their customers. This model of purchasing turnkey capability on satellites built by third parties is gaining in popularity and is useful for startups who are cost conscious, especially in their early stages where funds are tight. While the cost to access space has gone down, it is still not inexpensive for startups trying to launch new technology to prove a business case and garner new customers.
In today’s press release, a Wyvern spokesperson provided additional details on the usage of Loft Orbital satellites. “Loft’s second-generation satellite platform, which consists of the Longbow bus, a modular payload interface that allows for the turnkey accommodation of any customer mission. Wyvern will operate the mission using Cockpit, Loft’s mission operations software. The expanded imaging capacity of Loft’s platform—20-100x the downlink volume as a traditional cubesat—will enable Wyvern to serve the growing demand for high-quality data.”
The Longbow bus was derived from the flight-proven OneWeb bus, developed by Airbus.