Science & Technology

Spaceflight’s online price list makes it easier for the feds to buy a launch

Federal companies can now buy a satellite tv for pc launch as simply as they buy pencils, thanks to a new association with Seattle-based Spaceflight.

OK, possibly it’s not fairly that simple. You nonetheless have to get the go-ahead to put one thing into orbit, whether or not you’re a local weather scientist at NASA or Agent Fox Mulder at the FBI. However as soon as that go-ahead is given, the launch could be ordered from a standardized menu as an alternative of going via a months-long contracting course of.

“What this does is make it a extra expeditious course of,” Spaceflight’s president, Curt Blake, instructed GeekWire.

Spaceflight is the first launch service supplier to be awarded what’s often known as a Common Companies Administration Skilled Companies Schedule. Which means any federal official who’s licensed to spend the cash can order a CubeSat or a MicroSat launch online, by way of the GSA Advantage’s eBuy site.

The online ordering website will get round a lot of the hurdles that stand in the method of arranging a launch – making the course of extra related to the pencil procurement routine. “For those who run NASA, you don’t have to go compete out a contract to decide which pencil vendor is the finest,” Blake stated.

Spaceflight ensures that it will discover a spot on a launch automobile for a mounted price, a lot in the similar method as pencils are offered.

Satellite tv for pc launches are pricier than pencils, in fact. The most affordable merchandise on Spaceflight’s online menu goes for $278,503.78. That will get you the launch of a satellite tv for pc about the dimension of a loaf of bread, weighing not more than 11 kilos (5 kilograms).

The most costly merchandise on the list is the launch of a 660-pound (300-kilogram) satellite tv for pc for $7,667,074.85.

In every case, it’s bring-your-own-satellite. Spaceflight will discover you the launch – maybe on a SpaceX Falcon rocket, or on an Indian PSLV rocket, or on other launch vehicles provided by Spaceflight’s partners. The catalog lays out the price schedule for added providers when you want them.

Spaceflight makes a speciality of placing satellites into sun-synchronous polar orbits for Earth imaging. “That matches this mannequin completely,” Blake stated. The corporate has additionally partnered with NanoRacks to get small satellites deployed from the Worldwide Area Station.

You don’t have to be a federal company to be a buyer. For instance, Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources went with Spaceflight to make the preparations for last year’s deployment of its A3R test satellite – in addition to this yr’s scheduled flight of an Earth-observing Arkyd 6 spacecraft.

However when you’re a price-conscious shopper with a GSA account, simply hold this in thoughts: Spaceflight is providing up to a 20 p.c low cost for bulk purchases. Are you able to get that sort of a deal from a pencil pusher?

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