Solar Ship Inc., a Canadian company with operations in South Africa, Uganda and Zambia has partnered with Loonify Space to develop a rockoon (rocket + balloon) launch platform.
The platform will offer flexible, affordable, and reliable launch services for microsatellite operators.
The move is geared towards the provision of substantially lower launch costs while accelerating technology development.
According to Solar Ship’s CEO, Jay Godsall: “I knew the first time I met Sohrab he was going to change the world. His team is creating an exciting breakthrough in space launch technology and our teams complement each other well and share the same values. We are excited about what this technology can do for the microsatellite community.”
He indicated that Loonify’s technology would provide microsatellite operators with on-demand and affordable access to low earth orbit.
This he said, would significantly benefit remote areas around the world, from the Arctic to Africa, for applications in addressing climate change, global connectivity, and threats of war.
Solar Ship develops hybrid aircraft and aerostats to service remote areas.
The aircraft uses two forms of lift: static lift, generated by buoyant gas like an airship, combined with the aerodynamic lift of a bush plane.
This creates the capacity to fly large loads into areas without infrastructure and it enables the aircraft to fly without the use of fossil fuels.
Aerostats use similar materials as the aircraft and does not use fossil fuels. They provide low cost, solar powered internet connectivity in remote areas.
Satellite launches will therefore become accessible to a wide range of customers and industries.
With the development of a novel rockoon launch platform, Loonify Space and Solar Ship aim to significantly reduce launch wait times and costs, providing microsatellite operators with flexibility and control previously only available to big players.
Loonify Space and Solar Ship will collaborate to conduct a series of test flights, culminating with an orbital launch.
The two companies aim to work with constellation operators, remote communities, and government, at all levels to share data, intelligence, and ideas to work towards the development of reliable, low-cost communication for remote areas.