SaxaVord supports Lunasonde satellite launch

SaxaVord UK Spaceport has teamed up with satellite operator Lunasonde to support its first launch today. 

The Unst-based spaceport’s ground station will provide launch and early operation support for Gossamer Piccolomini, which will be on board a Falcon 9 rocket for the SpaceX Transporter 3 rideshare mission taking off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. 

SaxaVord has signed a contract with Lunasonde, which has created and developed a revolutionary low-frequency radar system using pioneering subsurface imaging for detecting and monitoring exploitable resources. 

When Gossamer Piccolomini has reached its low earth orbit, the ground station will continue to support it by downlinking satellite data and new mission updates. 

Lunasonde has named all the satellites it will create after craters on the moon since the name of the company means “moon probe”. 

Jacques Meheut, SaxaVord Ground Station Network Manager, said: “Last year was a busy year, with the installation of the first ground station supporting space-related activities in Shetland amid the challenges posed by COVID restrictions.  

“And we kick off 2022 as we mean to go forward, with the Lunasonde contract a tremendous achievement for the team here.” 

Jeremiah Pate, Chief Executive officer of Lunasonde, said: “We are very excited to work with SaxaVord UK Spaceport to support our first satellite. The SaxaVord ground station is invaluable to collecting our first data from orbit.” 

If you are interested in watching the SpaceX Transporter 3 Mission, you can find the live feed via the following link: SpaceX – YouTube. The launch is currently scheduled for 1000hrs EST / 1500hrs UK time on Thursday 13th January.