Two Satellite Projects for Djibouti and Zambia are Finalists for Arianespace Rideshare Mission

Arianespace postponse launch of TIBA-1 satellite
Closeup views from the Ariane 5 launchpad in French Guiana as the rocket await #VA250 flight. Photo Credit John Kraus

The final down-select among the six startup candidates proposing small satellite projects in a contest organized by Arianespace will take place on June 18 at 11:30 am local time to designate a single winner of a rideshare mission. Arianespace will unveil 12 new launch opportunities for smallsats between 2022 and 2024 at the show, along with an online mission configurator.

  • On June 16 at 1:00 pm local time, Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, will participate in a live online session concerning the “new space” market environment and sustainable space.

Arianespace will be taking part in the Viva Technology international innovation show (VivaTech) in Paris, both on-site and online, from June 16 to 18, 2021. The show’s highlight will be a pitch competition between six satellite start-ups who are vying for an Arianespace rideshare mission to orbit their own cubesat.

Participating teams will try to convince the members of the Arianespace jury of the merits of their potential satellites. Projects will be judged on their ability to improve life on Earth or advance human knowledge. Other selection criteria include the satellite design, which has to be compatible with a rideshare mission (especially the deployment platform, one standard unit, UA, in size and weight, etc.), and eco-responsibility.

Our six finalists are:

  • The Centre Spatial Universitaire Montpellier (CSUM) aims at providing students with hands-on training on space systems, develop innovative CubeSat technology and support the creation of education programs. The DJIBOUTI-1B project aims at helping the CERD (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de Djibouti) to monitor the water resources in the country and secures access to this precious good for the local populations. The project, which benefits from the support of both the Van Allen Foundation and the Djiboutian Ministry of Higher education and research, shall be conducted by a team composed of students and young graduates from Djibouti and CSUM.
  • Frontier Space Technologies aims to improve access to space and enable biological, pharmaceutical and material science research in space environments through their BioCubeSat (miniaturised orbital laboratory) platform. As part of their platform, they are further developing a drag sail to enable CubeSats to operate more responsibly and sustainably. This project will be part of a technology demonstration mission of the drag sail in orbit, confirming the nominal deployment of the sail in space, better understanding its impact on the attitude of the host satellite and quantifying the effectiveness of the technology in decreasing the end-of-life de-orbit period of the satellite.
  • Ignitos Logistics, a leader of last-mile logistics in Zambia (Fresh Produce Delivery, Fast Moving Consumer Goods). The purpose of their project is to improve the livelihoods and overall access to improved agriculture and agribusiness for Zambians. They want to develop a satellite that could be used to solve the endemic challenge of food insecurity, promote agricultural resilience and food security, and provide access to improved decision-making in rural and urban Zambian citizens. With access to remote sensing data, decision-makers, agronomists, farmers and environmentalists, this capability will establish Zambia as a credible regional producer, supplier, and partner.
  • Medic-Cube, the project of Ingenuity Tree, is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform to monitor, plan, coordinate and manage public healthcare services to guarantee preparedness and response to the healthcare crisis, in places with no telecom infrastructure. This satellite-based cloud computing service uses artificial intelligence algorithms to plan, according to healthcare centres operational status, the best course of action to optimize healthcare centres operation, deliver medical equipment and supplies (from the distribution centre or inter-healthcare centres) and coordinate medical personal schedules and tasks.
  • Lunasonde is pioneering subsurface imaging that makes the underground world visible, fundamentally transforming our understanding of the Earth. Water and minerals power our world but we’re permanently altering the planet to find them… Based on this observation, the startup Lunasonde developed a system to locate, in a more efficient and effective way, groundwater, mineral deposits, and other geological resources over a mile underground. Thanks to their innovative subsurface imaging concept, Lunasonde will be able to see 15,000 times deeper than current satellites and sensors.
  • The project of the startup OPEN EYES, called TEMNO (Transient Event Multi-messenger Nanosat Observer), is meant to be a flexible and scalable platform for early warning and collaborative study of transient astronomical phenomena such as Fast Radio Bursts, Gamma Ray Burst, Supernovae and Kilonovae. TEMNO is meant to give early warning of these events as they happen, allowing to slew larger sensors on them within useful times, but also to carry out background study of these events by recording and transmitting sensor readings thereof. This scientific project could help humanity get a better handle on these exotic natural phenomena and their possible repercussion on human life and space industrialization.

Arianespace will also take advantage of VivaTech to unveil new rideshare launch opportunities for small satellites from mid-2022 to mid-2024. The European launch services provider will provide no less than 12 rideshare launches (9 on Vega/Vega-C with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service/SSMS, 2 on Ariane 6 with the Multi-Launch Service/MLS and 1 on Soyuz). Furthermore, the Arianespace website will be introducing a smallsat mission configurator (not including constellations, mainly deployed by Ariane 6). With this new function, interested customers can obtain key information on a potential mission in just a few clicks.

Arianespace will also offer a virtual showroom to spotlight its capabilities. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Stéphane Israël, will participate in a special webcast at the show, including live transmission on the VivaTech website, concerning the “new space” market environment and the importance of developing a sustainable space, on June 16 at 1:00 pm local time.

About Arianespace
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 900 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and from the Russian cosmodromes in Baikonur and Vostochny. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.


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