Heard about this on the radio the other day and it set me to wondering. SpaceX and other commercial enterprises have geared up to offer (my assumption) heavy lift capability to the space station and such–are there related companies set up to provide light-lift capability for smaller satellites?
SpaceX started out with the Falcon-1 which can carry something like 600kg to LEO. Their current plan is to orbit multiple small satellites with a single Falcon-9 in order to streamline production & save on lauch costs.
That needs a good acronym, as the sort-of-inverse of MIRV.
Multiple Independent Satellites on Orbit (MISO)? No, that’s hunger talking.
Orbital Sciences just (Nov 19th) launched 29 satellites into orbit at once. Granted it was one big satallite and 28 tiny cubesats, does that still make the point? Orbital Sciences is a favorite of mine because they launch from NASA Wallops and I can see them from my house on the eastern seaboard.
Orbital Sciences has been launching satellites, planetary probes and even recently delivered material to the Space Station. Except for a lack of a manned spaceflight program, is there any different between their goals and SpaceX?
Same goals, certainly, but different customers, which was my original thought–as space-capable production lines shrink components/assemblies, the light-lift launchers will have just as much biz as the heavy-lift companies. How long until I can launch my own MIRV? The payloads will, natch, be made up of old HotWheels cars and Cadbury Creme Eggs, so there’s that. I wonder what the launch cost of that would be?
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