1 February 2019: NanoAvionics today announced it will build, integrate, launch and operate three new low-Earth-orbit (LEO) nano-satellites for AST & Science starting early this year.
AST & Science acquired a controlling interest in NanoAvionics in March 2018 as part of its strategy to establish manufacturing capabilities in Europe and North America. Abel Avellan, CEO and chairman of AST & Science serves as chairman of NanoAvionics’ Board of Directors.
According to Avellan, the three new satellites, based on NanoAvionics’ proprietary M6P satellite bus, will be used to test a range of experimental payloads for defense and commercial customers, and will include a Q/V-band satellite for test and evaluation.
“The flexibility of the proven M6P bus and the close collaboration with our associates at NanoAvionics will enable us to design, build, integrate, launch and test a multitude of experimental payloads in orbit within six months or less,” said Avellan. “This is unprecedented in the satellite industry.”
“NanoAvionics offers a complete turnkey solution optimized for the needs of nano-satellite operators, said NanoAvionics CEO Vytenis J. Buzas. “The requirements and timetable for AST & Science’s payloads are a perfect fit for our expertise and our M6P multi-purpose nano-satellite bus.”
The first satellite will be launched into a 500-kilometer orbit in the first half of 2019. NanoAvionics will supply and integrate the special-purpose mission payload hardware into the M6P, secure launch opportunities and provide launch integration services. After commissioning, NanoAvionics will operate the satellite for the mission’s one-year duration. The second launch will follow later in the year and the third in early 2020.
NanoAvonics’ M6P is a preconfigured multi-purpose nano-satellite bus which dramatically reduces the time and cost to deploy both technology demonstration and operational missions. It is the first nano-satellite to use an integrated green liquid chemical propulsion system, which makes it possible for the M6P to conduct long-duration LEO missions that until now could only be done by much larger, heavier satellites.
On Nov. 15, AST & Science announced an agreement to open the company’s U.S.-based satellite manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters in Midland, Texas. The 85,000 sq.ft. facility in the Midland Space Port is “move-in ready” and will begin production of satellite modules in 2019, according to Avellan.