Azista BST Aerospace (ABA), the Indo-German joint venture aiming to revolutionize the mass production of small satellites for mega-constellations, and Exolaunch, a leading global provider of mission management, integration services and smallsat deployment technologies have launched and deployed AFR-1, ABA’s first satellite, with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 on the Transporter-8 rideshare mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on June 12, 2023 2:35pm PT.
The ABA First Runner (AFR-1) is carrying a payload destined for Earth observation, using an electro-optical sensor with a medium-resolution Ground Sample Distance (GSD) to image a large area. AFR-1 rolled off the ABA factory floor as a showcase of the joint venture’s manufacturing capabilities catering to mass producing satellites in a short amount of time. The satellite model spearheaded by AFR-1 is based on a modular bus which can host a wide variety of payloads with little to no software or hardware updates.
For M Srinivas Reddy, Managing Director at Azista BST Aerospace, “This successful launch is a decisive first step towards delivering a transformative Henry Ford moment for small satellites.”
Exolaunch provided Azista BST Aerospace with its end-to-end mission management as well as its industry-leading CarboNIX microsatellite separation system, which deployed AFR-1 flawlessly in its target orbit. Exolaunch’s CarboNIX guarantees stable and smooth separations thanks to a patented low-shock design that has proven its reliability through 13 missions and over 60 successful deployments. Azista BST Aerospace awarded the launch agreement to Exolaunch for its extensive experience in rideshare missions and its reputation as a trusted provider of mission management and integration services with both incumbent and new satellite manufacturers.
“Exolaunch is thrilled to support Azista BST Aerospace with their first satellite launch,” said Nadine Smolka, Mission Manager at Exolaunch. “This was a great opportunity to help international teams come together around a joint mission, share approaches, and solidify partnerships throughout the launch campaign. SpaceX’s rideshare program has opened up so many new possibilities for cooperation in the field of commercial smallsat manufacturing, and we’re proud to be able to facilitate it on a global scale.”