GK Launch Services, which advertises commercial Soyuz deployments, sells rideshare space in its Russian lunar mission spacecraft whose launch will be in 2021. This rideshare space will be for smallsat secondary cargoes.
In the August 5 demonstration, officials of GK Launch Services reiterated that the Soyuz-2 launch of the Luna-Glob docker would be selling out rideshare opportunities on this spacecraft. The liftoff will be happening live in October next year from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
GK Launch Services’ sales director, Evgeny Solodovnikov, explained that all the rideshare payloads hosted in this mission would be dispatched to their respective Earth orbitals. Nonetheless, he was adamant about divulging any information concerning the available space for rideshare opportunities and the price of flying a smallsat payload via this mission.
Luna-Glob is a segment of the long-awaited Russian moon venture project that consists of both the payload deployment to its orbit and the collection of return-samples from the ongoing missions. A tweet by Roscosmos on August 5 hinted that this Luna-25 mission, its apparent name, will be operational by October next year. This tweet is in line with the ongoing installation of scientific equipment on the rocket.
The Luna-25 mission launch will mark the eighth Soyuz-2 mission for the private and governmental institutions. The mission will also count as GK Launch Services’ eighth time of selling capacity for secondary cargo in the upcoming decade. The previous launches were heading for the clockwise orbits, with all the missions taking off from Vostochny and Baikonur Cosmodrome.
GK Launch Services is the leading proponent of small satellite launches and rideshare opportunities in recent years. GK is keen to ensure that smallsat startups thrive in the space industry since they are cheap to manufacture and launch. Soyuz has been deploying diverse cubesats and smallsats to ensure that Russia creates its market niche in the space industry. GK articulated that the Soyuz’s Fregat upper segment can deploy payloads in three different sun-synchronous orbits in one mission.
Solodovnikov was adamant about articulating the prices for small satellites enjoying rides on this mission for both the earth-orbit and lunar mission. He reiterated that this move is to keep the professional competition alive with its rival SpaceX. On the other hand, SpaceX gives rideshare experiences for small satellites, with the smallest price being $1 million.
In conclusion, GK Launch Services is hopeful that it can thrive in American companies’ progressively growing competition. The firm has been around for a long time and is ready to transition to advanced technology if that is the competitive standard.