Menlo Park, CA. – Dec 9, 2013 – Team Phoenicia LLC, a space payload services provider, announced today an agreement with Space Exploration Engineering Corporation of Friday Harbor, WA to provide “space traffic control” for the multiple spacecraft to be launched on the 2015 Phoenicia-1 launch.
The Phoenicia-1 launch will be one of the most complex missions ever attempted. With multiple spacecraft simultaneously heading to the Moon - led by PennState's Lunar Lion Google Lunar XPRIZE team's lander - each of these spacecraft will require simultaneous tracking and maneuver planning, which requires shared ground tracking resources and cooperative collision avoidance. This requires a system similar to Air Traffic Control used for commercial aviation. Space Exploration Engineering (SEE) will provide “space traffic control” for the Phoenicia-1 launch.
“The Phoenicia-1 Mission will be ground-breaking. With Penn State’s Lunar Lion Google Lunar XPRIZE team and more, Phoenicia-1 will set the stage for commercial missions beyond Earth orbit, the Moon, and potentially interplanetary space,” said Baird. “SEE’s capabilities will help ensure mission success.”
Team Phoenicia will provide launch opportunities to Pennsylvania State University’s Lunar Lion Google Lunar X PRIZE team, California Polytechnical University at San Luis Obispo, Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems and Spaceflight Services, Inc. on the Phoenicia-1 (P-1) mission using a commercial domestic launch vehicle. The launch will carry over twenty small satellite payloads and potentially up to 75 cubesat payloads. Many of these payloads will be released in a sun-synchronous, polar Earth orbit, and several additional payloads will continue to the Moon.
SEE will design, create and manage a Space Traffic Control center for this mission using a commercial ground station, through which all trajectory planning, deployments, orbit determination and maneuvers will be planned and coordinated. This capability will then be available for subsequent missions in Earth orbit and beyond.
SEE is a partnership of aerospace professionals with expertise in mission design, operations and spaceflight dynamics. SEE has decades of experience in spaceflight operations from sun-synch, rendezvous, re-entry, lunar, libration-point and deep space trajectories.
"With so many years of experience, there are few comparable in the commercial market to what SEE brings to the table for this mission. Mike Loucks and his associates are some of the best in the business." stated William Baird, CEO of Team Phoenicia. "As our alliance for space exploration and development grows, SEE brings to the table the experience from IBEX, LADEE and other missions to help plan and execute this mission. The new capabilities SEE is bringing online for the Phoenicia-1 mission will enable missions for years to come. We are thrilled to be the first to use this new capability."
“The Phoenicia-1 mission is a very exciting opportunity for us.” said Loucks, President of SEE. “Our previous experiences with flight dynamics and control on IBEX and LADEE have put us in a unique position to fly commercial deep space and lunar missions. The experience we gain on this mission will dovetail nicely into our future goals as well, and position us to be leaders in commercial deep space. Our Space Traffic Control system will be based on commercial software, and will enable cubesats and other secondary payloads to fly with the same type of precision that we used to put LADEE in lunar orbit.”
Team Phoenicia is an orbital payload broker and service provider. Founded in 2007, Team Phoenicia entered the spacecraft payload manifesting market in 2010 with the purpose of making space access more routine for small spacecraft. Team Phoenicia is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
The Phoenicia -1 launch will be scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2015.