Press Release


Interorbital's Next-Generation Satellite Kits

Interorbital Systems introduces its Next-Generation Satellite Kits and a LunarStation

MOJAVE, CA--June 16, 2019--For those seeking the ultimate satellite-building experience at the lowest possible price, Interorbital Systems (IOS) introduces its updated and upgraded TubeSat 2.0 and CubeSat 2.0 satellite kits. These second-generation satellites have a reduced parts-count and are easier to build than their predecessors. Interorbital’s engineers have succeeded in merging the original Satellite Kits 1.0 version’s power management, microcontroller, and communications boards onto a single printed circuit board, substantially expanding the satellites' open interior space to accommodate larger payloads. The new models represent a complete rebuild of the 1.0 version of the satellite kits.

Just like the original TubeSat kit, the IOS CubeSat has no external metal chassis. The old-style aluminum CubeSat chassis has been replaced by specially designed laser-cut aluminum rings and stand-offs. This modification reduces the satellite weight and simplifies assembly of the CubeSat.

The upgraded 2.0 versions of the satellite kits include the hardware updates listed to the right.

Both IOS satellite kits have the same internal electronics, but have different form-factors and differ in volume and mass. The standard 1U TubeSat has a maximum mass of 0.75-kg, while the standard 1U CubeSat has a maximum mass of 1.33-kg. IOS CubeSats are available in sizes from 1U to 6U, while IOS TubeSats come in sizes from 1U to 3U.

Kits now available with or without a launch
The satellite kits can now be purchased with or without a launch included. Three kit options are available.

Option 1: The Option 1 kit contains circuit boards and all satellite components, including the solar cells, ready for soldering into place. Option 1 kit builders will require the necessary equipment required for circuit-board assembly.

Option 2: For rapid kit assembly requiring a minimum set of skills and equipment, the Option 2 kit comes with the electronic components and solar cells already soldered to the circuit boards. Each board is tested before shipping. The builder has only to assemble the completed boards, install the builder's payload, and test the completed satellite.

Option 3: A completely assembled and tested satellite kit ready for payload integration. The builder has only to build or buy the payload and plug it into the completed and tested satellite kit. It is the responsibility of the builder to verify the payload is functioning.

The new 1U 2.0 Sat Kit academic base prices, effective July 1, 2019, are listed below:

TubeSat 2.0 kit only; no launch:    $6,200
TubeSat 2.0 kit with launch:          $12,400
CubeSat 2.0 kit only; no launch:   $11,000
CubeSat 2.0 kit with launch:         $22,000

Prices for the 2U to 6U satellite kits and commercial/nonacademic prices are available upon request.

There are no other comparably-priced U-Class satellite kits available today. The ultra-low kit prices with launch are possible only because IOS' NEPTUNE launch vehicles---the rockets on which the satellites will ride---are the lowest-cost launchers on the market today.

Kit-only buyers have the option to add a launch later by simply notifying Interorbital and paying the extra launch-cost at any time. Each customer’s payload will be scheduled on the next available launch when payment is received.

IOS Satellite Division Expands
Flight-ready, completed satellites are also available upon request. The release of the 2.0 satellites marks the beginning of expanded services offered by Interorbital's Satellite Division. IOS' new Custom Satellite Services will provide satellite and constellation design services, satellite manufacturing and testing, plus low-cost launch services for a wide range of small-satellite form-factors.

What are some of the ways to use an IOS CubeSat of TubeSat? There are several Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) payload application categories including, but not limited to physics, engineering, imaging, biological, or small personal object delivery. Physics experiments include LEO radiation analysis, LEO temperature analysis, LEO magnetic field analysis, and solar physics experiments. Engineering experiments include electronic component testing in an orbital environment, communications hardware testing, or launching a radio repeater. Imaging equipment includes any kind of Earth imaging or astronomical imaging, recording, and transmission of data back to Earth. Biological experiments include plant germination and growth, effects of radiation on living cells, plant oxygen generation for life-support systems, the study of low-gravity effects on simple biological organisms, and protein and drug production in a micro-gravity environment. Data storage includes name and image lists and human historical documents. Small personal object delivery could be anything from cremains to logos to family and pet photos---things someone deems important and would like to send on a ride to space. These are just a few of the uses of a CubeSat or TubeSat. There is already a wealth of payload ideas available to choose from, and the 2.0 IOS Sat Kits provide an open orbital platform that inspires the creation of new payloads limited only by the builders' imagination. What would you like to build and send to space today?

2-kg Payload Capacity

The LunarStation: Lunar Soft-Landing Bus (LSLB)
Interorbital introduces a new addition to its low-cost spacecraft hardware series: the LunarStation. The LunarStation is designed to soft-land a single payload or up to four smaller payloads on the surface of the Moon. It is equipped with a transceiver and a solar-power unit to provide communications and power for the customer payloads. One-to-four payloads can be accommodated with a total combined payload-capacity of two kilograms. For multiple payloads, a plug-in port is available for each, providing payload-access to the LunarStation's on-board power source and the communications hardware. A dedicated single-payload LunarStation mission is priced at $2 million for a 2-kg payload, the lowest-cost Lunar-surface access option in history. On missions delivering multiple customer payloads, the cost is based on the number of payloads and the mass of each payload, in a standard rideshare arrangement. For LS Mission I, a 1.5 kg payload mass is still available at $1.0 million per kilogram. This breakthrough, low-cost lunar-delivery service is made possible by the advent of the IOS NEPTUNE modular rocket series. Interorbital's NEPTUNE rockets offer the most affordable orbital and Lunar payload delivery available anywhere on the planet today.

The smallest IOS NEPTUNE-Series modular launch-vehicle variant that can deliver the Lunar Descent Propulsion System (LDPS) with its LunarStation payload to the Moon is the NEPTUNE 3 Four-Stage (N3 FS). It is launched on a direct-descent trajectory to the Moon. After all four stages complete their burns, the fourth stage with its LDPS/LunarStation payload will coast together all the way to the Moon. Critical Lunar mission hardware is integrated into the fourth stage, including a single midcourse-correction option, navigation hardware, an attitude control system, and a LIDAR altimeter. When the fourth stage nears the Moon, the LSPS/LunarStation separates and ignites its solid rocket motor. The solid rocket motor decelerates the LunarStation in preparation for landing. At the end of the burn, the LunarStation is ejected just above the surface of the Moon.

The soft-landing method is based on the technique used by the Mars Pathfinder. After LunarStation ejection from the LDPS, four airbags oriented in a tetrahedral configuration inflate to cushion a series of bouncing impacts on the Lunar surface until the LunarStation comes to a stop. Once stationary on the surface of the Moon, the LunarStation deflates its airbags and rights itself by deploying its petals, exposing the inner workings of this sophisticated piece of hardware. When petal deployment is completed, the LunarStation automatically points its antenna towards the Earth by adjusting its petal angles. This is followed by the activation of its communications system which transmits the exact location of the landing site. An onboard set of cameras captures the surrounding Moonscape and transmits the images back to Earth. Finally, the payloads activate and begin their tasks.

The LunarStation is based on Interorbital's Google Lunar X PRIZE Nano-Lander concept, developed for its GLXP team, SYNERGY MOON----one of the five finalists in that competition.

What type of payloads can the LunarStation carry to the Moon? There are at least six Lunar-surface payload-type categories: physics, engineering, imaging, biological, data storage, and delivery of small personal objects. Physics experiments include Lunar-surface radiation analysis, seismographic analysis, Lunar-surface temperature analysis, magnetometer analysis, and neutron analysis for hydrogen detection. Engineering experiments include electronic component testing in a high-radiation environment, communications hardware testing, Lunar navigation beacon, or a radio repeater. Imaging equipment includes any kind of Moonscape or astronomical imaging recording and transmission back to Earth. Biological experiments include plant germination and growth, effects of radiation on living cells, plant-based oxygen generation, studying the effects of low Lunar gravity on simple biological organisms, and off-world DNA or seed storage. Data storage includes name and image lists and human historical documents. Small personal objects could be anything someone deems important and would like to place on another world, like cremains, company logos, family and pet photographs, etc.. These are just a few examples of what can be sent to the Moon as a LunarStation payload.

The LunarStation is expected to have a Moon-surface lifetime of at least three Lunar months. Interorbital is currently scheduling launches for 2021. For more information, contact IOS at +1 661.965.0771 or ios@interorbital.com.


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