Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) and Virgin Galactic have recently entered into a multi-year agreement for the provision of KSAT’s Ground Station Services for the LauncherOne small satellite launch service. KSAT will provide telemetry downlink services and contribute to the successful operation of the innovative LauncherOne orbital small satellite launch system. KSAT will provide to Virgin Galactic the service from its global network of ground stations, enabling support of launches from a wide variety of launch locations and to all inclinations.
The integration of LauncherOne-specific support equipment at the KSAT ground stations has already commenced, with the Antarctic station being the first to be configured to receive signals from the LauncherOne vehicle. Hardware to support Virgin Galactic launches to high inclinations is already installed at the Antarctic station. “We are very pleased to be entrusted with providing mission critical tracking services for LauncherOne flights, and in this way contribute to the success of the most innovative launcher development. The agreement further strengthens our position as the leading NewSpace Ground Station Service provider,” says KSAT CEO Rolf Skatteboe.
Within the scope of the agreement, KSAT will also provide LauncherOne tracking from a new ground station located in Long Beach, California, which is home to the LauncherOne program. Though LauncherOne mission support will have priority access, this new antenna will also be available for use by existing and future satellite constellations, further expanding the capacity and global footprint of the “KSAT lite” NewSpace Ground Station Network.
George T. Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic stated: “KSAT has already proven its expertise and solidified its role as a key asset within the NewSpace community. Because LauncherOne makes use of a 747 as a ‘flying launch site’ capable of conducting missions from any spaceport with an adequate runway, it was critical for us to secure access to an excellent network of ground stations without making an investment into our own global network. We look forward to using the established KSAT ground station network to receive telemetry during our missions.”
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