Effective Space has secured its first contract for a spacecraft that will extend the operational lifespan of communications satellites. Although the company has chosen not to release the name of the customer, they have stated that its a “major regional satellite operator”.
According to Effective Space, the contract is worth more than $100 million and calls for the launch of two of the company’s Space Drone vehicles in 2020. The vehicles will then dock with two ageing satellites to provide stationkeeping and extend attitude control capabilities.
In an interview, managing director of Effective Space, Daniel Campbell explained that extending the life of the customer’s satellites would greatly benefit their ability to stay competitive. “The nature of the region that they cover is very competitive, and they see the life extension as a real advantage with their customers for the next few years,” he said
The undisclosed customer is the first of several interested parties who signed letters of intent to sign a contract. Although Campbell revealed they were in advanced talks with several others, he has insisted that the company’s short-term focus is on their first customer.
Series B Funding
Effective Space is currently preparing for Series B funding. Campbell confirmed that the company would seek funding in 2018 but declined to confirm the amount the company hopes to raise.
Series B funding is generally used for the “build” phase of a company’s push to market. However, the Space Drone vehicle itself is still only in the preliminary design stage. The vehicle is yet to undergo a critical design review that could potentially delay the next phase of development. Despite this, Campbell appeared confident the company could deliver on the 2020 deadline. He also revealed that although the Space Drone itself was in the early design phase, “Major systems, including docking, are in a much more advanced state.”
Better Late Than Never
Effective Space is not the only company pursuing satellite life extension services. A subsidiary of Orbital ATK, Space Logistics LLC is currently developing their own program and hope to launch their first Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) later this year. The first vehicle will hope to extend the life of the Intelsat-901 satellite.
Although Logistics LLC will beat Effective Space to the market by years, the company hopes to compete on price. “What we see as a major advantage is the cost structure,” explained Campbell.
Image Credit: Effective Space