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It’s launch day! Payload is proud to announce that we have officially diversified into newsletters for your ears. Said differently…we’ve launched a podcast! 

Pathfinder is available today on Spotify and Anchor, with support for additional platforms rolling out this week. We’re sharing details on the first episode below, but if you want to dive right in, here’s the Spotify link. Or you can listen on your web browser via Anchor.

In today’s newsletter:
🎧 Pathfinder Ep. #0001
🛰️ Astrocast & Hiber deal
🗓️ The week ahead

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Your Next Landlord in Space

On Pathfinder Ep. #0001, Payload’s Ryan Duffy sat down with Michael Suffredini of Axiom to discuss the looming golden age of space stations. 

Meet Suff

Suffredini is the president and CEO of Axiom Space, a Houston-based unicorn startup and the leading commercial space station developer. He cofounded Axiom with serial space entrepreneur Kam Ghaffarian back in 2016. 

  • Crosstown experience: Michael has 35+ years of experience in human spaceflight. He joined NASA in ‘89 and would go on to serve as the ISS program for a decade prior to his retirement in 2015. 
  • Down-the-road education: Suffredini earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 1983.🤘🤘🤘

Axiom recently made history with Ax-1, the first all-private mission to the space station. In our conversation, recorded in early May, we discuss Ax-1, Axiom’s revenue streams, manufacturing in space, human spaceflight, space’s internet moment, and one of the industry’s “worst-kept secrets,” per Suffredini. 

Find the full episode using the links below. And stay tuned for more from us soon.

Listen on Spotify.

🎧 Or…listen online via Anchor.

Astrocast Expands IoT Reach

Swiss-based Internet of Things (IoT) network operator Astrocast has agreed to acquire Netherlands-based IoT-as-a-Service provider Hiber. The deal comes as Astrocast preps for a second IPO.

“Hiber’s focus on satellite-enabled IoT solutions, innovation, and production aligns with Astrocast’s strategic go-to-market priorities for 2022 and beyond,” said Astrocast CEO Fabien Jordan. “We’re excited to welcome Hiber to the growing Astrocast team.”

Deal structure:

  • Astrocast acquires all of Hiber’s shares in exchange for the issuance of new Astrocast shares, representing a 16.5% stake.
  • Hiber’s shareholders agree to invest €10.45M in Astrocast’s public offering.
  • The acquisition is conditional on the completion of Astrocast’s IPO on Euronext Growth Paris.

The benefits to Astrocast: The acquisition will give Astrocast a direct-to-end user sales channel, expand its portfolio of products, and add coverage of the Americas through Hiber’s distribution agreement with Inmarsat. Astrocast will also bring on major Hiber customers, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Oil Search, NAM, and ENI.

In Other News

  • Astra’s ($ASTR) LV0010 has arrived at SLC-46 in Cape Canaveral. The rocket is set to launch two TROPICS satellites for NASA in June.
  • Momentus established two-way contact with Vigoride but experienced “some initial anomalies.” 
  • Spaced Ventures crossed 10,000 users on its crowdfunding platform. 
  • Nigeria and Mozambique are the first two African nations to approve Starlink regulatory licenses. Apparently SpaceX’s satellite internet service is now licensed on all seven continents? Doesn’t seem like there’s much coverage in Antarctica…
  • China rolled a Long March 2F rocket to the launch pad for the Shenzhou-14 crewed mission to the Tiangong space station expected early next week.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, May 31: The 2022 State of the Space Industrial Base Workshop kicks off in Albuquerque, NM. Hosted by New Space New Mexico, this hybrid event lasts through June 4.

Wednesday, June 1: At 2pm, NASA will announce the companies that will develop next-gen spacesuits for extravehicular activities (EVAs) and moonwalks. The U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space convenes in Vienna, Austria, through next week. The Asia Satellite Business Week Summit begins in Singapore and goes through Friday.

Image: NASA

Thursday, June 2: At 1pm, NASA will host a presser on science and climate research that will be enabled by SpaceX’s resupply mission to the ISS next week.

Friday, June 3: Russia’s MS-20 cargo resupply mission is scheduled to launch to the ISS at 5:32am and dock just after 9am.

This Weekend: The Shenzhou-14 crew will journey to China’s Tiangong Space Station. The launch time and crew members are TBA.

On the Move

  • LeoStella, a smallsat manufacturer, hired Mike Kaplan as VP of BD and sales.
  • Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University named Ret. USAF Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson to its BoD. Thompson formerly served as commander of USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center.
  • Orbit Fab, the startup building “gas stations in space,” is opening a UK Office that will be led by Manny Shar. He has previously worked at Inmarsat, BryceTech, and London Space Network and served as an advisor to the UK Space Agency.
  • NASA selected Dr. Jimmy Kenyon as acting center director and Dawn Schaible as acting deputy center director of the Glenn Research Center. Its Armstrong Flight Research Center will be temporarily led by Brad Flick after David McBride retires at the end of June. Meanwhile, the agency’s JWST program director Gregory Robinson was named to the TIME100 list of influential people.

The View from Starbase

Image: SpaceX. Starship 24 rolls out to the pad. Huge kudos to whoever is doing these drone shots in South Texas.
Image: SpaceX. Starship 24 rolls out to the pad. Huge kudos to whoever is doing these drone shots in South Texas.