Kepler Communications Issues an RFI for launch vehicles to accommodate its forthcoming GEN 1 CubeSat Constellation in 2020
TORONTO, August 27, 2018 - Kepler Communications is seeking information for sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) launch services for its upcoming GEN1 constellation comprised of up to 15 satellites. Once deployed in between Q1 2020 – Q3 2020, these spacecraft will support space to ground, ground to space, and space to space communications.
Kepler plans to award a launch service contract to accommodate up to fifteen 12-15 kg spacecraft in a single or multiple launches into SSO. Location and date of the launch(es) will be determined by service providers, but the deployment of the final GEN1 constellation must occur no later than Q3 2020.
Kepler is building a 140-LEO nanosatellite constellation to provide in-space telecommunication services to an ever-growing space industry that requires real-time access for spacecraft command and control as well as a high-capacity data backhaul services. With plans to sustainably increase service capability and technology, Kepler will initially deliver high-bandwidth satellite data connectivity for customers in high-latitudes and, shortly after, narrowband satellite connectivity for Internet of Things devices by 2020.
This request for information (RFI) is intended to solicit information on launch capability for small payloads that will serve Kepler for its upcoming constellations. Applicants are expected to include a description of capabilities in addition to the launch services such as deployment mechanisms, integration facilities, live video streaming, flight heritage, flight insurance, and test programs or upcoming milestones for new launch capability.
Submission for this RFI will close on September 21, 2018, in accordance with the solicitation instructions. Those selected will be contacted to submit a detailed proposal by November 23, 2018.
Kepler is looking for responses that briefly cover the requirements listed in the solicitation document, as well as schedule and price of the service. Those applying should consider the following:
- The launch provider shall deliver up to fifteen spacecraft of 12-15 kg plus deployment mass (TBC) to the agreed orbit (s) on one or multiple launch vehicles (preference for 2)
- The launch vehicle shall insert spacecraft into a sun-synchronous orbit between 520 and 600 km.
- Spacecraft integration should commence by Q1 2020 and the launch epoch shall be Q1 to Q3, 2020
- Price per kilogram launch mass to SSO
In January 2018, the company successfully launched KIPP, the first of three technology demonstration satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre (JSLC) in North-western China and is performing well on-orbit. Later this year, its second spacecraft, CASE, will join the initial constellation augmenting its high capacity store-and-forward capabilities. With the launch of its third spacecraft scheduled for 2019, Kepler is already on the move to deploy its GEN1 constellation by carrying an early candidate survey for this contract.