Scheduled for launch beginning in the second quarter of 2023, the constellation will enable Kinéis, a company backed by private and public investors including the French government’s space agency CNES and CLS an international space-based solutions provider, to improve its global IoT connectivity. The multi-launch contract with Kinéis, follows a similar bulk buy of launches earlier this year to deploy nine satellites across five dedicated Electron missions as part of a constellation for BlackSky, a provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services.
Kinéis CEO Alexandre Tisserant says: “We are glad to entrust our constellation of 25 satellites to Rocket Lab. They are the leaders in small satellite launch and the obvious choice as launch partner to activate our constellation at such a pace. We designed and developed our 25 satellites in record time with the support of CNES, Thalès Alénia Space and HEMERIA in order to deliver a full new operational service to our existing and future customers - we are now eagerly counting down to first launch in 2023!”
Rocket Lab said, the proven accuracy and reliability of Electron’s Kick Stage in successfully deploying 100+ satellites to date was a decisive factor in Kinéis selecting Rocket Lab as its launch partner. The Kick Stage will act as an orbital transfer vehicle to deliver each satellite in the Kinéis constellation to their precise orbital planes at a 650km altitude, allowing Kinéis to avoid sacrificing spacecraft mass for propulsion and to begin a fully operational service as quickly as possible.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck says, “We’re thrilled to be Kinéis’ launch partner and look forward to delivering their constellation across five dedicated missions in quick succession. Deploying an entire constellation and having it operational quickly requires each satellite to be deployed to exactly the right orbit. Rocket Lab’s track record of exceptional orbital deployment accuracy provides Kinéis with that assurance. By taking care of in-space transport, the Kick Stage makes life much easier for satellite constellation operators, enabling them to maximise spacecraft mass for their payload.”
Kinéis currently operates the Argos system, an international scientific collaboration between CNES, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to monitor wildlife, fisheries, and to collect data about Earth’s climate and environment through CLS. Kinéis’ new constellation will complete the current system with more powerful 30kg-class nanosats that integrate IoT technology and a ship-tracking Automatic Identification System (AIS). Once deployed, this technology will allow Kinéis to expand across multiple industries and scale from 20,000 devices connected to millions.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 10 September 2021.