Space is quickly becoming a less remote place as dozens of universities and organizations prepare to launch small satellites in the coming years. For now, however, these mini-satellites must piggyback their way as secondary payloads, meaning operators have little control over the timing of a launch or on reaching a desired orbital altitude for their mission goals.
A number of companies aim to eliminate these when and where-to whims – not to mention cutting down on costs — by offering dedicated small satellite launching services.
“Getting reasonable cost access [to space] for small spacecraft is really critical,” said Kris Kimel, president of Kentucky Space, a private-public consortium waiting for its first small orbital satellite to be launched in 2011. “We need to get that kind of access that allows us to relentlessly innovate and quite frankly to fail more.”