We’re excited for the launch of PSLV-C47! Aboard this launch out of India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in November will be Meshbed, Analytical Space Inc.’s (ASI) 3U cubesat. It’s an on-orbit demonstration satellite that will be testing a patented MITRE antenna that hopes to allow users on the ground to gain faster access to satellite data. (MITRE, a not-for-profit corporation, works through private-public partnerships and with federal R&D centers to drive innovations in defense, aviation, healthcare, cybersecurity and other areas in our critical infrastructure.)
Meshbed will support experimentation for government missions including tactical communications and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. A predecessor tech demo satellite, Radix, deployed from the International Space Station in 2018.
At operational capacity, ASI’s network will dramatically expand the downlink capacity of Earth observation satellites, which currently face severe constraints relaying data, and it will drastically reduce the latency of that data getting to the ground. The MITRE antenna was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. MITRE has received 3 patents for the new antenna, called FUSE (Frequency-scaled Ultra-wide Spectrum Element).
Payloads like Meshbed are the reason rideshare missions are so critical. Experimental satellites like this one can be launched quickly and affordably, using the excess capacity on launch vehicles committed to one primary payload. Furthermore, customers like ASI are putting all their time and effort into their technology, not into learning the intricacies of launch regulations and integration details. They relied on Spaceflight for those important details.
“Spaceflight remained a flexible partner with strong communication throughout the flight integration process of one of our tech demonstration missions,” says Weston Marlow, Chief Technology Officer at ASI. “As a startup with fluid timing and navigating our own learning curves, these attributes of customer service have been indispensable. They helped us maneuver the international regulatory and launch requirements landscape while respecting our limited staffing and bandwidth.
We’ll be following Meshbed’s progress after launch as it continues on its mission. Spaceflight is proud to be part of this journey.