Russia’s Sputnix expands its sales channel in partnership with Mitsui & Co.

Russia’s Sputnix expands its sales channel in partnership with Mitsui & Co.

On May 25, Russia announced that Russia’s Sputnix and Mitsui Bussan Moscow, a subsidiary of the Mitsui Bussan Group, have signed a memorandum of understanding. Founded in 2011, Sputnix builds and provides satellite components and platforms.

This agreement gives Mitsui the right to sell Sputnix products and services in Asia and the Middle East. In February 2020, Mitsui & Co. acquired Spaceflight Industries in the United States, which operates a satellite ride sharing service. Mitsui continues to increase its focus on the space field.

Virgin Orbit’s demo rocket launch from the flight fails

On May 27, Virgin Orbit, which aims to provide satellite launch services, conducted a demo flight marking the end of the development program that lasted over 5 years. However the launched rocket did not reach orbit. In this demo flight, a modified Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl took off from the spaceport in California.  Even if the rocket launcher fired,  an abnormality occurred and the demo flight was terminated. LauncherOne fell into the water within the expected range, and Cosmic Girl and its crew were safely returned to the ground. At this time, it is not clear what caused the anomaly.

Although the demo flight failed, Virgin Orbit said in a press release it demonstrated that a mobile ground control system was working properly. This is the first launch at the Mojave Desert Spaceport. The equipment used for launch has been transported to the spaceport via public roads.The company said it’s too early to announce the exact timing for a next attempt. 

10 space startups selected for ESA competition

Ten finalists selected from 50 companies were announced at the space startup competition held by European Space Agency. Auravant from Spain, provides affordable crop tracking services using satellite imagery. ConstellR works on earth temperature monitoring with a constellation of cube sats, also on the field level. Xylene seeks to monitor illegal mining and logging activities through satellite images. VortexIo designs and develops innovative remote sensing instruments dedicated to the monitoring of hydrological systems. Vaonis builds observation stations that allow hobbyists to observe and photograph space. Hawa Dawa monitors air pollution with the help of satellites. 

The three companies that will pass the final selection from June 29th to July 1st will be given the opportunity to make appointments with representatives of the space agency, and will be invited to present at the Global Space Congress held in Abu Dhabi in May 2021. 

The Global Space Congress is a conference hosted by the UAE Space Agency, with participants from more than 600 organizations including space agencies, companies, and end users. It’s an excellent opportunity for startups to market their services.