Fairfax, VA, August 17, 2011 – SpaceQuest, Ltd. (“SpaceQuest”), a U.S. satellite technology company headquartered in Fairfax, VA , announced today the successful launch of the SpaceQuest-built AprizeSat-5 and AprizeSat-6 microsatellites. The Dnepr launch vehicle carrying seven satellites blasted off from Yasny launch base in the Orenburg Region of the Russian Federation at 11:12:20 Moscow time (07:12:20 UTC).
The Dnepr is a converted SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile adapted for civilian use. In 1997, Russia and Ukraine formed the International Space Company Kosmotras to convert the missiles into Dnepr launch vehicles. The two AprizeSat spacecraft were launched into a circular sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit (LEO) and will operate in the UHF and S-Band frequencies.
As the SpaceQuest team monitored the initial pass over the SpaceQuest ground station in Fairfax, Virginia, there were high fives all around when communication with the satellites was established and the satellites were found to be in good health. exactEarth, Ltd. (“exactEarth’) of Cambridge, Ontario, a leading provider of satellite AIS data services, will take ownership of the spacecraft after successful completion of in-orbit testing, which is expected to be concluded within 90 days. These satellites incorporate next generation AIS payloads designed to further improve AIS message detection from space. The addition of these spacecraft will bring the exactEarth constellation to five operational satellites, greatly expanding the visibility of vessel traffic throughout the world’s waterways.
AprizeSat Launch August 17, 2011 "Today's launch marks another important step in the ongoing expansion of our global vessel monitoring service," said Peter Mabson, President of exactEarth. “Our existing spacecraft have proven that advanced AIS payload technology combined with our proprietary ground-based processing results in a significant increase in detection capability. This launch helps ensure that exactEarth will continue to provide the world’s most comprehensive and high performance satellite-based AIS service for years to come."
The AprizeSats are also hosting two SpaceQuest cutting-edge experimental AIS payloads which will contribute to the advancement of AIS technology. “We are proud to witness the launch of the ninth SpaceQuest-manufactured satellite on the Russian Dnepr rocket,” said Dr. Dino A. Lorenzini, President of SpaceQuest. “In addition, many other satellites have been launched on the Dnepr that contain SpaceQuest components, payloads and buses. Our ongoing success in building microsatellites and top-quality components, as well as providing custom engineering services, is a testament to SpaceQuest’s superb and dedicated staff.” he said.
SpaceQuest is a developer of advanced satellite technology for government, university and commercial use for the past fifteen years, specializing in the design, development, testing and manufacture of spacecraft as well as space and ground components for operation with low-earth orbiting satellites. For more information, visit our website at www.spacequest.com.
About exactEarth Ltd.
Based in Cambridge, ON, exactEarth Ltd. is a data services company that leverages advanced microsatellite technology to deliver monitoring solutions characterized by high performance, reliability, security, and simplicity. exactEarth’s service, exactAIS™, is a global vessel tracking and monitoring system based on world leading satellite-based advanced AIS detection technology. exactEarth is jointly owned by COM DEV International Ltd (TSX: CDV) and HISDESAT Servicios Estratégicos S.A. For more information, visit our website at www.exactearth.com.