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 […]


Airbus to Fly Inmarsat’s Next-Gen Satellite to Florida

Breaking: Whale, Bird Will Skip Across Pond This week, Inmarsat and Airbus announced the kind of complicated logistical operation that you can only see in the space sector. But for this specific mission, neither company is launching anything into space yet. Instead, they’re shipping a next-gen GEO satellite across the Atlantic.  Unpacking the announcement Airbus […]


Iridium, Qualcomm Announce Satellite-to-Snapdragon Partnership

Coming soon, Android users practically anywhere around the globe will be able to send green texts messages from anywhere, even when out of range of any terrestrial cell tower. Iridium and Qualcomm are partnering to make it happen. Today at CES in Las Vegas, Iridium CEO Matt Desch announced that in mid-2023, several new premium […]


SpaceX Launches Transporter-6 Mission with Stacked Manifest

For the first orbital launch of 2023, SpaceX’s Transporter-6 mission launched 114 small satellites into orbit. The spacecraft on the manifest ranged from cubesats to hosted payloads to orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs).  The Transporter satellite rideshare missions increasingly remind us of nesting dolls, as they launch space vehicles that in turn deploy even more space […]


SatixFy Completes SPAC Merger

SatixFy completed its SPAC merger with Endurance Acquisition Corp ($EDNC) last week, after shareholders voted to approve the deal Wednesday. The Israeli satcom company had its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, Oct. 28, represented by the ticker $SATX.   SatixFy 101 The company is a fabless chipmaker and developer […]


A Q+A with Sateliot, AWS’s Latest Space Partner

There are going to be a lot of cell towers in space. Last week, Sateliot said it was working with Amazon to build a cloud-native narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) 5G connectivity service using its planned LEO constellation on AWS. Now, we’ll run that last sentence through Payload’s jargon translator:  The San Diego/Barcelona-based startup hopes to be […]


ULA Launches Pair of SES Communications Satellites

On Tuesday evening, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral with precious cargo: SES-20 and -21. The American launch provider successfully deployed the satellites for SES, their owner and operator, roughly six hours later into a near-geosynchronous orbit.  SES bought the two birds from Boeing in 2020. The all-electric satellites […]


US GAO Releases Report Tackling Large Constellation Risks

It seems like every agency in Washington is taking a closer look at satellite constellations these days. That extra attention may lead to new hoops for satellite operators to jump through. Last week, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on megaconstellations. GAO noted that new, growing fleets of satellites drive direct value […]


FCC Approves 5 Year Satellite Deorbiting Rule

And just like that, we finally have concrete new orbital debris rules. By a 4-0 vote, the FCC approved a long-awaited orbital debris draft ruling yesterday. The rule shortens the time required for satellite operators to deorbit LEO satellites to no more than 5 years after completing their mission, from 25 years.  The agency hopes […]


Starlink Passes Two Million Downloads in 2022

The Starlink mobile app has 2M+ downloads in 2022, per third-party estimates from 42matters, a Swiss mobile intelligence provider. The tally includes both installs on Android’s Google Play marketplace and the iOS App Store.  Starlink saw ~90,000 downloads over the weekend, 42matters’ Alexander Braelow told Payload. The spike occurred shortly after SpaceX activated Starlink in […]


SpaceX Activates Starlink in Iran

Protests in Iran reached their 10th night and 50 cities over the weekend, following the death of Mahsa Amini in custody.  A digital curtain descends… In response to anti-government protests, Tehran has throttled internet access and mobile networks and blocked WhatsApp and Instagram, popular Western services within the country. NetBlocks, Cloudflare, and OONI are documenting […]


Microsoft Launches First Product with SpaceX

Microsoft is scaling up its presence in space, in a figurative rather than literal sense. Azure, the company’s cloud computing arm, is focused on building out software tools and partnerships within the industry, rather than launching its own hardware into space.  Azure Space launched in Oct. 2020. It’s apparently been quite busy since then.  The […]