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Arianespace plans on awarding free launch to the best CubeSat

ByAmanda Holden

Oct 17, 2021

Space exploration currently holds high-class potential, and investing in the sector is a great move. However, the industry has its challenges primarily revolving around money. Other than expertise, a space company has to have the resources and money to take the project to completion, explaining why many space companies are often open to funding. When you observe the space sector in many countries, you realize there are many unique ideas that people are working on and some of these projects dates over a decade ago. One reason for slow progress or stagnancy is the money since you need to develop a product, test its functionality, and launch it.

Recently, there is good news for startups working on space technologies but are facing financial struggles to launch them. It is a chance to make a dream come true with the assistance of Arianespace. The company announced that it would offer a free launch to a well-deserving space technology from any lab or university. Arianespace will hold a competition, “Destination: A Better Life on Earth,” which is a part of its offerings for the VivaTeh 2021, a conference expected to take place in Paris in June.

Arianespace will launch services to minor spacecraft technologies during the yearly tech conference and introduce the Multi-launch setting. The latter services ensure the launching of many spacecraft simultaneously using the next-gen Ariane 6 vehicle. The startup that will win the competition will receive launch and integration services in its new mission. However, to become eligible to win a free launch, the teams must register using a mission proposal explaining how space technology can advance humans’ knowledge or improve people’s lives. Also, there is a specification of the spacecraft’s size with a maximum sizing of 10cm on each side.

Arianespace’s registration for this competition is open and will close on 14th May. A panel from the company will select five finalists and announce the winner during the VivaTech opening day in France. In October, the IAF (International Astronautical Federation) launched the CubeSats’ challenge at the University level alongside Dalian University and the Chinese-based Astronautics society. And this challenge will take place every two years and awarding the winning team with free launch services.

All universities are free to apply for the IAF membership and get the chance to participate in the CubeSat challenge. Unlike Arianespace, IAF offers the teams an opportunity to create a triple-unit spacecraft. Besides, the participants can choose to venture into space exploration proposals’ including Mars and Moon missions. The registration for the IAF CubeSat challenge is currently open and will close on 15th June. Additionally, this challenge’s winner will be brought to light in the International Astronautical Congress in Dubai for its 72nd edition.