Friday, March 22, 2013

Low cost satellite services offered

In a nutshell, you launch a satellite at 1/4 of the current cost, or about US$10.5 million.

Malaysia was quoted as one of the countries interested in partnership deals that could see is host additional spaceports.

Malaysia's current MEASAT-3

Measat-3 is 4,765kg in mass while this low-cost launching services limit the weight of satellite to only 250kg. Measat-3 cost about US$230million, so a small discount offered by the Swiss launch services might make little difference.

But technology changes fast and the cost to build an equally capable but lighter, 250kg satellite could be so cheap that launching cost could represent big chunk in the cost pie. So it may highly be a viable option.

Swiss firm aims for low-cost satellite service
Mar 14, 2013
GENEVA: A new Swiss-based company said Thursday it would offer low-cost satellite launches which it claims could be a quarter of current market rates.

Swiss Space Systems-S3 said its goal was to offer launches for 10 million Swiss francs (8.1 million euros, $10.5 million) using unmanned suborbital spaceplanes that could carry satellites weighing up to 250 kilos (550 pounds).

"Our mission is to give access to space," the company said in a statement.

"Our aim is to democratise access to space by enabling emerging markets, countries, universities and research institutes to do what has not been possible for them up to know: deploy their own satellites," it added.

The company said it planned to open such a spaceport by 2015 at the Payerne airfield in western Switzerland, which has already been used by the Solar Pulse sun-powered aircraft of Swiss astronaut Bertrand Piccard.

Swiss Space Systems said that the plan's low-cost character was rooted in the reusable nature of the spaceplane and other launch facilities and that fuel-consumption would be far less than that of conventional systems.

Countries including Malaysia and Morocco have already expressed an interest in partnership deals that could see them host additional spaceports, it said.

Original article at The Economic Times

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