Deep Space

Payload Presents: Mars Madness

In March Madness, your bracket can be busted by an unexpected upset, leaving your dream of predicting the perfect outcome in shambles. On expeditions to Mars, outcomes are equally unpredictable, with a mission’s fate resting on anything from a software glitch to a cosmic dust storm to a mix-up between metric and imperial units.  Today, […]


Satellogic Launches “Space Systems”

Satellogic is launching a new Space Systems product, the publicly traded satellite operator ($SATL) announced last week.  With Space Systems, Satellogic says countries or companies can buy and fly their own EO satellite “with submeter resolution, proven performance, and custom mission options.” In other words, the product represents a space-as-a-service offering for those who have […]

CivilDeep SpaceMilitary

Unpacking NASA, Pentagon Space FY 24 Budget Requests

As we noted last Friday, the White House has requested $27.2B for NASA next year. That’d represent a 7%—or $1.8B—increase over the 2023 enacted level.  Updated timetable: The agency’s FY 2024 Budget Request presentation gives top billing to the agency’s presence in LEO, from the ISS through CLD; establishing a “sustainable” lunar presence; and further […]


Ursa Major, Vector Launch Strike Engine Deal

Ursa Major has struck a deal to supply Vector Launch with “several” propulsion systems, the company tells Payload. Ursa’s Hadley engines will power the main stage of the Vector-R launch vehicle in future demonstration missions for national security customers.  A word on Vector: The seven-year-old startup, which has raised more than $180M, declared bankruptcy in […]


Who Will Buy ULA? What Payload Readers Say

United Launch Alliance, a joint venture formed in 2006, may soon have a new corporate home. That’s because co-owners Boeing ($BA) and Lockheed Martin ($LMT) are reportedly putting ULA up for sale, according to a blockbuster story last week from Ars Technica’s Eric Berger.  Morgan Stanley and Bain were hired to facilitate the transaction, which […]


Samsung Introduces Satellite Chip

On Thursday, South Korean tech conglomerate Samsung shared some color on its own space plans. The tech conglomerate introduced a satellite-to-smartphone communications chip for future phones, rather than unveil any flashy features now.  Above, we deliberately used the modifier “tech conglomerate”—twice—to describe Samsung. While best known for phones, Samsung is also the world’s second largest […]


Terran Orbital Wins $2.4B Rivada Contract

Live long and prosper… Another day, another three-comma space contract. Terran Orbital said Wednesday that it won a $2.4B contract to design, build, and deploy a 300-bird constellation for Rivada Space Networks. The Rivada constellation will consist of 288 LEO satellites and 12 spares. They’ll be linked by lasers, packing on-board data routers, and tasked […]


Intuitive Machines Stock Skyrockets, Tripling Three Days after Going Public

On Thursday, shares of newly public Intuitive Machines ($LUNR) closed at $44.77 a pop, up a staggering 251% on the day. The company’s stock has tripled in three days of trading. Trading of the lunar exploration company’s stock was briefly halted midday as volatility triggered the NASDAQ circuit breaker. The surge comes just three days after […]


The State of US Spaceports

Last week, Georgia’s Supreme Court upheld a referendum in which residents voted to block Camden county from building a spaceport.  The legal challenge by Camden County Commissioners, who sought to have the referendum declared invalid, was rejected unanimously.  The backstory: Spaceport Camden has been a contentious issue in the county for over a decade, with […]


Umbra, Maxar Announce SAR-Optical Alliance

Yesterday, Umbra dropped a triple whammy. The Santa Barbara, CA-based startup 1) rebranded, 2) published licensing and pricing details for its SAR imagery, along with sharing some of that imagery for the first time, and 3) announced a key partnership with Maxar. We’ll take this whammy by whammy.  #1: The rebrand Umbra’s logo, website, and […]


SpaceX Completes Key Starship Static Fire Test

On Thursday, SpaceX conducted a full-duration static fire test of 31 Raptors on Starship’s massive first-stage booster. It was SpaceX’s first attempt at simultaneously firing all 33 engines on Super Heavy, said booster, from the Orbital Launch Mount in Starbase, TX.  The test set a new world record for thrust, as noted by NASASpaceFlight’s Chris Bergin.  Why […]


Exotrail raises $58M for spacestudio, spacedrop, spaceware, and spacetower

Exotrail has raised $58M, the French space logistics provider announced this week. The startup will tap the funds to fuel:  The cap table Bpifrance, a French public investment bank, led the $58M Series B round via its SPI and Innovation Defense Funds. Bpifrance had already backed Exotrail through its F3A and Digital Venture investment vehicles […]