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A new approach to the delivery of satellites to orbit
by Staff Writers
Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Nov 20, 2014

The Sagitarius launch system is an airborne platform capable of reaching orbits of 600 Km of altitude, and it is composed of two components: The Archer, a demilitarized MiG-29UB supersonic jet; and The Space Arrow, a launcher based on a modified missile, with two load configurations: simple matrix, with a load capacity of 4 nanosatellites; and complex matrix, with a load capacity of 16.

Celestia Aerospace starts operations in Barcelona for the development and launch of low weight satellites with an innovative approach. Its primary goal is to offer turnkey solutions, which encompass all the stages of development and operation of a satellite, a first for the small dimension satellite industry worldwide. A unique integral low-cost service never seen before in the aerospace industry.

Celestia Aerospace will build cube-shaped low-weight satellites - ranging from 1 to 10 Kg - and small dimensions - from 10 centimeters of edge - termed nanosatellites.

The construction will be undertaken from the company's offices in Barcelona, and the integration of the satellite and the launcher will take place in the company's hangar, based at an airport in Spain. For the first time ever, a single aerospace company offers low-cost, turn-key solutions for any business willing to gain access to orbit.

Pioneering Low-Cost Integral Solutions In The Aerospace Industry
Celestia Aerospace will offer an integral service of space solutions, which will comprise every step of the process: from the design and development of the nanosatellite, to its launch, orbit management, and data delivery to the final user.

The goal is for the client company to have a single interlocutor in the aerospace chain: client needs are determined and a customized solution is designed, which then is developed into a nanosatellite.

One of the keys for the low development cost is standardization and the use of off-the-shelf technologies, that is, widely used commercial applications, from sectors such as the multimedia or mobile communications.

For the development of systems and standards Celestia Aerospace counts with the collaboration of one of the leading international references in the arena of nanosatellites, Professor Adriano Camps, of the Nanosatellites Research Department of the Technical University of Catalonia - Barcelona Tech.

The launch, orbital operation, and data management are developed by Celestia Aerospace as well, so that the client will just have to sit in front of the computer and wait for the desired data to download.

Customized Orbital Platforms
BioPharmaSAT and SemicondSAT are the first pioneering standards that will be developed by Celestia Aerospace, and they are aimed at the BioTech-Pharma and Electronic industries, respectively.

The absence of contact forces in weightlessness allows for the reveal of other forces which are normally masked by weight, thus offering an optimal environment for such processes as protein crystallization, of critical importance for the BioTech-Pharma industry, or as material crystallization for the optimization of semiconductors. In microgravity conditions, such crystallization processes, that is, the formation of a highly ordered solid structure, occur with a much higher degree of order than that available under Earth's gravity pull.

SALS (Sagitarius Airborne Launch System), A Novel Launch Platform
The SALS is the first of its kind and it will service both Celestia Aerospace's own nanosatellites and other companies that require a fast, flexible, and affordable launch solution.

The Sagitarius launch system is an airborne platform capable of reaching orbits of 600 Km of altitude, and it is composed of two components: The Archer, a demilitarized MiG-29UB supersonic jet; and The Space Arrow, a launcher based on a modified missile, with two load configurations: simple matrix, with a load capacity of 4 nanosatellites; and complex matrix, with a load capacity of 16. In a single flight, the Archer can deploy four simple matrix Space Arrows or a single one in the complex matrix set-up. Therefore, Celestia Aerospace can transport up to 16 nanosatellites to orbit in a single operation.

Sagitarius will operate from an airport in Spain. Celestia Aerospace will also offer its clients the possibility of actually launching their own nanosatellite from the backseat of the MiG-29UB.

The Archer will also be used to offer space tourism flights to 20 Km of altitude, where the flier will be able to see the curvature of the planet and the darkness of space.

The advantages of this new launch system are varied: its low cost compared to normal launch platforms for this kind of satellites, which now have to fly as 'piggyback' cargo in larger rockets; the just-in-time service, allowing for a record waiting time of 2 weeks, radically more flexible than the average year-and-a-half for the available launch opportunities; total mission focus, as the launch is strictly prepared for the nanosatellites, compared to the limitations of flying as secondary cargo of a larger satellite; and total flexibility in terms of calendar, as the launch can be moved without problems to accommodate delays in the nanosatellite development.

A Strong Commitment With Young Talent
Celestia Aerospace will initially hire a team of 40 scientists and engineers, technicians, and pilots, and it will gradually expand its activities, with a 5-year expansion plan which will include hiring up to 350 employees, prioritizing the recruitment of new university graduates.

The company will establish an associated foundation, Celestia Aerospace Foundation, whose goal is to promote the education and science in society and especially among the youngsters. Among other activities, the Foundation will provide grants and prizes aimed at the involvement of youngsters with science and to promote their education.

The first flights are expected for early 2016.

A Solid Team
At the helm of Celestia Aerospace we find Gloria Garcia-Cuadrado, theoretical physicist and entrepreneur, President and CEO of the company. Gloria holds a BS and MS in theoretical physics from the Barcelona University (UB) and holds a degree in Space Studies under the specialty of Space Business and Management from the International Space University (ISU) at California (USA).

She has been a key-note speaker in several important congresses such as the world reference in commercial access to space "International Symposium on Private and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCF)", at Las Cruces, New Mexico (USA).

She has developed her professional career in several centers such as the Aerospace Technology Centre (CTAE), where she was Director of the Human Spaceflight and Advanced Concepts Area, or the Aerospace Cluster of Catalonia (BAIE), where she was appointed General Manager.

Celestia Aerospace works with an Advisory Committee formed by experts in areas such as aerospace industry; nanosatellite development; space tourism, satellite operations; and the development, operation, and maintenance of jet airplanes and launch systems.

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