Singapore Space Startup Equatorial Space Signs LOI for Volans Missions
The letter of intent covers up to 12 small launch vehicle missions.
By Sharon Lewis
Singapore-based space tech startup Equatorial Space Industries announced last week in a statement that it had signed a letter of intent with Scottish launch aggregator Responsive Access to discover customers for Equatorial Space’s small satellite (smallsat) launch vehicle.
The agreement covers up to 12 missions of the startup’s upcoming Volans small launch vehicle, Simon Gwozdz, CEO and Founder of Equatorial Space, said.
Founded in 2017, Equatorial Space’s technologies focus on space launch and exploration via orbital launch systems as well as planetary landing missions, through cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly solutions.
Volans, the startup’s fully hybrid launch vehicle (named after a constellation), launches from an ocean platform and can carry up to 200 kilograms of payload into near-equatorial Low-Earth Orbit. This is an uncommon sight in the growing and heavily regulated smallsat launch sector, the statement said.
“We have reached a point along our development roadmap when we can confidently discuss launch contracts, as our technology matures and our team grows. Despite the delays in our inaugural prototype mission, the Low Altitude Demonstrator, due to the COVID-19 crisis and resulting travel restrictions, we are pushing forward with our work remotely and hard to deliver on our services,” Gwozdz said in the statement.
A participant of the Edinburgh-based European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre, Responsive Access leverages software and partner relationships to facilitate access to space via the launch of CubeSats into orbit.
Stylized as an “end-to-end, one stop shop launch service”, it also provides support towards environmental testing and qualification, insurance, regulatory and legal affairs, and supply chain.
Chief Executive Officer of Responsive Access, Andrew Paliwoda noted in the statement, “We’re delighted to have formalized our initial discussions with this letter of intent and look forward to strengthening our partnership with Equatorial Space in the coming months by bringing them satellite payload opportunities to fit their timelines.”
Equatorial Space was the winner of MBRSC Innovation Cup 2018 in Dubai, has been named a Top 500 Deep Tech Startup by Hello Tomorrow 2018, and was also the Most Promising Startup at the NAMIC Innovation Day 2019. The startup is aiming for its first orbital test launch by 2021.
The space-tech startup made a shift from an all-volunteer organization to full-time business operations after it secured angel funding last year, an earlier statement from the company said. The funding also helped the startup relocate from their previous office at The Hangar by startup incubator NUS Enterprise, to premises in Singapore’s pioneer area.
Header image by NASA on Unsplash