European launch services company Arianespace is organising a contest for satellite projects by space technology startups, labs or universities, in conjunction with the Viva Technology 2021 (VivaTech) innovation show.
First prize will be a spot on a rideshare mission operated by Arianespace, to orbit the winning cubesat-sized satellite.
The main selection criterion will be the satellite’s mission, which should improve life on Earth or advance human knowledge. Other selection criteria include the satellite design, which has to be compatible with a rideshare mission (deployment platform, one standard unit, UA, in size and weight, etc.), and eco-responsibility.
Participants (startups, labs, universities) have until May 14 to submit their projects. Arianespace will choose five finalists, with the winner to be announced at the award ceremony on June 16, 2021, during the opening day of VivaTech.
Arianespace said it will also take advantage of VivaTech to unveil its new rideshare solution and innovative commercial proposals for the small satellite market. This solution includes the launch services SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) on Vega and Vega C, and MLS (Multi-Launch Service) on Ariane 6.
SSMS, a project supported by the European space industry, was used for the first time by Arianespace in September 2020, on a Vega rocket. Funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and supported by the European Union within the scope of the Horizon 2020 program, the SSMS structure was developed by Avio, prime contractor for Vega, and manufactured by the Czech company SAB Aerospace. This service will soon be joined by MLS, a similar solution, but designed for Ariane 6.