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The satellite rideshare market is heating up

SpaceX smallsat launch
Artist’s conception shows a SpaceX rocket deploying a satellite carrier in orbit. (SpaceX Illustration)

Seattle-based Spaceflight has made a name for itself by putting together bunches of small satellites for launch on someone else’s rockets, but now the owners of some of those rockets are aiming to take the business for themselves.

The promise and the perils of the dedicated-rideshare launch business came into the spotlight today in Logan, Utah, at the annual AIAA / Utah State University Conference on Small Satellites, better known as SmallSat.

On the plus side, Spaceflight announced that it’s getting ready for the second of several rideshare launches from New Zealand on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket. The mission, dubbed “Look Ma, No Hands,” is due to put three satellites into orbit for Spaceflight’s customers during a launch opportunity that opens Aug. 16.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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