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PSLV launch
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifts off on a February space mission. (ISRO Photo)

Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources’ technology demonstrator satellite for asteroid prospecting is due for launch in early January, along with more than two dozen other satellites, aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The latest word on the schedule for the PSLV-C40 mission came today from Seattle-based Spaceflight, which is providing launch and mission services for Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 and 10 other satellites.

Arkyd-6 is only about the size of an inkjet printer, but it’s designed to capture images in midwave infrared wavelengths and send them back to Earth. The imaging technology is destined to be used in future generations of Planetary Resources’ asteroid-surveying spacecraft.

PSLV-C40 will be the first mission to lift off from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center since a PSLV mission failed in August. The primary payload is a Cartosat-2 imaging satellite, but lots of secondary payloads will be getting a piggyback ride to polar orbit.

Spaceflight’s lineup includes Arkyd-6 as well as Finland’s ICEYE-X1 radar-imaging satellite, four Spire Global Lemur-2 Earth observation satellites, Astro Digital’s Landmapper-BC3 imaging satellite, AMSAT’s Fox-1D amateur-radio research satellite, plus others.

Spaceflight is a service offering of Spaceflight Industries, which also has an orbital imaging subsidiary called BlackSky under its wing.

“PSLV-C40 is a perfect example of how our flexible, full-service rideshare model is enabling new commercial space businesses to exist while expanding into new markets,” Spaceflight President Curt Blake said in a news release. “This mission brings new customers from outside the industry into space while continuing partnerships with existing customers for their ongoing satellite constellations.”

But wait … there’s more: PSLV-C40’s manifest also lists four Planet Dove imaging satellites, Telesat’s LEO-1, SSTL’s Carbonite-2 video-transmitting satellite and NovaSAR-S radar satellite, a satellite for Kepler Communications, France’s PicSat space telescope, six South Korean mini-satellites and additional ride-alongs.

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