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Ariane 6: EXOpod Nova launch from Exolaunch

Ariane 6: EXOpod Nova launch from Exolaunch

an agency

05/06/2024
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The newest rocket will be launched in Europe soon, with several space missions with a unique purpose, destination and team on Earth. Whether launching new satellites to look back and study the Earth, peer into deep space, or test important new technologies in orbit, Ariane 6’s maiden flight will demonstrate its versatility and flexibility, demonstrating a remarkable heavy-lift launch vehicle. Read on to learn all about the EXOpod Nova and find out who else will be on board for the maiden flight

Artist’s impression of Ariane 6

Many missions will take flight into space on Ariane 6’s maiden voyage, but how can you make sure they launch from the rocket at the right time and in the right direction? Coordinating these tasks is the responsibility of satellite deployers, whose job is to launch satellites in a timely manner.

One such deployment system flying on Ariane 6 comes from Berlin-based Exolaunch, a global provider of launch services, mission management, satellite integration and deployment hardware that has successfully deployed more than 390 satellites on 28 missions to date.

Exopod Nova Deployment Program

On the historic maiden flight of Ariane 6,… EXopod The company’s Nova operator is deploying four CubeSats in space. The trolley-sized Exopod Nova will attach to the upper stage of the Ariane 6 charging adapter. Made from durable, lightweight aluminium, this deployer can safely hold up to 16 CubeSats, while the deployer itself weighs less than 14kg.

Berlin-based company Exolaunch will launch the EXOpod Nova with the first flight of the Ariane 6. Credit: Exolaunch

In an effort to accommodate all types of CubeSats, including larger types that exceed standard dimensions, the EXOpod Nova is designed for versatility. Nadine Smolka, Exolaunch mission manager, underscores the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of satellite design: “We want to revolutionize the industry and make it easier for our customers to explore the limits of their satellite designs.”

Ariane 6 flies the 16-unit version of the EXOpod Nova in a three-door “S3” configuration, allowing enough space for four satellites. The extender features an intuitive and easy-to-use design. The doors of the EXOpod Nova open in response to a signal from the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, followed by a propulsion mechanism that launches the satellites into orbit.

Built in Berlin

Exolaunch’s headquarters and integration facilities are located in Berlin, where the four CubeSats will be integrated into EXOpod Nova. Once completed, the device will begin its transatlantic journey to the European Space Base, where it will be connected to Ariane 6’s payload adapter. Nadine and other Exolaunch team members will oversee the physical connection and conduct rigorous testing to ensure functionality is guaranteed before launch.

Exopod Nova at Exolaunch’s headquarters and integration facilities in Berlin. Credit: Xolansh

Highlighting their commitment to quality control, Nadine says: “For the sake of integration, and overall at Exolaunch, we work on the ‘two minds, four eyes’ principle to ensure quality control – a second teammate to ensure the success of all vital processes.”

As a German company with deep roots in spaceflight, Exolaunch is proud of its European heritage and envisions a thriving European space sector. “We want European space to flourish, so we are very excited to see the launch of Ariane 6 and are honored to be on board the vehicle to provide our customers with independent access to space,” Nadine concludes.

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