Mission

Above the Sky

Mission Name

Above the Sky

Carrier Name

ION SCV011 Savvy Simon

Launch Date

June 2023

Launch Site

Vandenberg

Launcher

SpaceX

Rocket

Falcon 9

Mission Status

Completed

Passengers

9

Hosted Payloads

16

Mission Updates

UPDATE 5

September 4th, 2023

In-orbit demonstration of ODIN-DU1

ION SCV011 Savvy Simon successfully initiated the in-orbit demonstration of ODIN-DU1, a sensor designed and built by ODIN Space to map sub-centimeter debris. It is expected that ODIN-DU1 will keep running regularly, collecting data for the lifetime of ION.

UPDATE 4

June 26th, 2023

Deployment of SpeiSat

ION SCV011 Savvy Simon successfully released into orbit Spei Satelles (SpeiSat), a 3U CubeSat built by the Politecnico di Torino for the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, incorporating advanced avionics and a sensing suite for thermal, magnetic, and inertial measurements.

Notably, SpeiSat carries a nanobook—a silicon microchip that contains the text of the Statio Orbit publication from March 27th, 2020. This satellite serves as a global transmitter of these messages from orbit, broadcasting every 2 minutes at 437.500 MHz using the AX.25 protocol, symbolizing hope and peace.

UPDATE 3

June 23rd, 2023

Six PocketQubes released in orbit by two AlbaPod satellite deployers

The two AlbaPod 6P PocketQube satellite deployers by Alba Orbital, integrated onboard ION SCV011 Savvy Simon, successfully released all six hosted PocketQube satellites into orbit. The spacecraft lineup includes:

  • UNICORN-2I: an Earth Observation pico-satellite by Alba Orbital for global artificial light monitoring.
  • SATLLA-2I: Ariel University's PocketQube satellite, designed to test free space optical communication.
  • Istanbul: Hello Space's inaugural PocketQube satellite, aimed at providing a low-cost IoT data service.
  • MRC-100: Budapest University of Technology and Economics' 3P PocketQube satellite, focused on monitoring electrosmog pollution from orbit.
  • URESAT-1: AMSAT-EA & Hydra Space's satellite incorporating FM voice and FSK data repeaters.
  • ROM-2: Romania's 1st PocketQube equipped with a 2MP camera for Earth imaging and developed by RomSpace, a team of high school students from the International Computer High School of Bucharest

UPDATE 2

June 22nd, 2023

Beginning of the commercial phase + deployment of Mission 1 by Outpost

ION SCV011 Savvy Simon successfully released Mission 1, a 3U Cubesat developed by Outpost to acquire crucial flight experience for Outpost's Ferry avionics system in preparation for its upcoming Earth Return satellite missions.

The name chosen by Outpost for this mission, “Failure is an Option”, embodies the company’s core values of rapid innovation, early launches, as well as the willingness to embrace calculated risks to expedite learning and ensure reliable Earth returns.

UPDATE 1

June 13th, 2023

Launch

Above the Sky, the 11th commercial mission of ION Satellite Carrier (ION), launched on June 12th, 2023, at 2:19 p.m. PT (21:19 UTC) aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, and was successfully deployed 1h:20m after lift off into a 525km Sun-Synchronous Orbit.

The Above the Sky mission includes payloads from AAC Clyde Space (for ORBCOMM and Wyvern Inc), ASI/Politecnico di Torino, Outpost, SpacePnT, Odin Space, UKRI/RAL, Alba Orbital and one undisclosed customer.

Our mission control team is now performing a series of tests and diagnostics in preparation for the operational phase.

Roadmap

PHASE 1 - COMMISSIONING

As soon as ION SCV011 Savvy Simon reaches orbit, our spacecraft operations engineers will establish a bidirectional communication channel and  start the launch and early orbit phase (LEOP), neutralizing the rotation imparted by the launch vehicle during separation, correcting the attitude, testing the satellites' subsystems, and preparing for the next phases.

PHASE 2 - COMMERCIAL PHASE, HOSTED PAYLOAD DEMONSTRATION

Once concluded the commissioning phase, ION SCV011 Savvy Simon will start the commercial phase of the mission, which will consist in the deployment of the hosted satellites and the in-orbit demonstration of third-party payloads hosted onboard.  

Throughout the mission, ION SCV011 Savvy Simon will deploy satellites for several clients, including AAC Clyde Space (respectively for Wyvern and ORBCOMM), ASI/Politecnico di Torino, Alba Orbital, Outpost and one undisclosed customer; the OTV will also perform in-orbit demonstration of hosted payloads from SpacePNT, UKRI/RAL Space and ODIN Space.

In order to release the satellites into the precise operational orbital slots required by customers, ION SCV011 Savvy Simon will perform a series of complex orbital maneuvers.

PHASE 3 - DECOMMISSIONING

At the end of the mission, the platform will join the fleet of IONs already in orbit and operated by the company. At the end of its life, the spacecraft will be decommissioned in compliance with the Space Debris Mitigation guidelines. The pressure vessels will depleted from leftover fuel and oxidizer, the battery charging system will be deactivated, and the batteries will be completely discharged. The spacecraft, now inert, will enter a decommissioning trajectory that will bring it to burn up upon atmospheric re-entry within a few years.