On January 3, 2023 at 09:55 ET, Launcher successfully launched its first spacecraft (Orbiter SN1) to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 (Transporter-6). Upon successful separation on Launcher’s 24” separation system, the spacecraft powered up and communicated to the ground (command uplink and telemetry downlink) during its first scheduled ground station pass.
We also communicated with the vehicle for the duration of expected battery life. Unfortunately, after that time period, the vehicle stopped operating as we were not able to generate power from our solar panels due to an orientation control issue caused by a fault in our GPS antenna system.
While achieving many internal mission objectives in the development of our Orbiter spacecraft and collecting critical data from the successful on-orbit operation, unfortunately, we failed to deploy our customer payloads.
We would like to sincerely apologize to our customers and their team, partners and end customers. We have been in constant communication with them since launch day, including recovery attempts. We have committed to accommodations beyond our contractual requirements to our customers on this mission.
There were many notable successes to our first mission, including
Fully operational time in orbit during expected battery life, including
Improvements for our next flight:
We have designed an improved GPS radio and antenna subsystem and are also taking steps in software development to ensure that a repeated GPS failure would not have any fatal impact on our mission.
We also have made the following improvements:
We are incredibly grateful that our current partners and customers are continuing to join us on our next flight. With higher confidence from these hard-learned lessons and improvements, we will be back in space this year with Orbiter SN3 in June 2023 (SpaceX Transporter-8) and again in October 2023 (SpaceX Transporter-9).