French start-up Exotrail secures a contract with AAC Clyde Space to equip their customers’ spacecrafts. This includes Eutelsat’s ELO 3 & 4 satellites.
The Eutelsat mission is a precursor to a potential constellation called ELO (Eutelsat LEO for Objects). The companies deliver the contract before the end of the year, and will launch both satellites in 2021.
Exotrail dedicates itself to providing innovative on-orbit transportation solutions for the small satellite market. On the 19th February, 2020 the company announced that they signed a contract with AAC Clyde Space. AAC Clyde Space is a European nano-satellite solutions specialist. Exotrail will equip them with cutting-edge propulsion solutions for their customers. This includes global satellite telecommunications provider Eutelsat for its ELO 3 and ELO 4 spacecraft. The French company will provide propulsion systems for the two 6U CubeSats. AAC Clyde Space will manufactured and delivered these.
Exotrail is a French start-up. It develops solutions for on-orbit transportation, among others electric propulsion and mission optimisation solutions for small satellites. In their own words, Exotrail’s mission is ‘to deliver agility to the space industry’. Eventually, they want to ‘foster an environment of new services in earth observation, telecommunication and science’. Exotrail employs about 25 people in Massy (in the Paris region) and Toulouse. Since its incorporation in 2017, the company has raised more than six million Euros of public and private funds.
Customizable satellite platforms
AAC Clyde Space offers turnkey solutions and services from mission design to on-orbit operations. Not only this encompasses customizable satellite platforms in the range of 1 to 50 kilograms, but also a full range of subsystems for cube and small satellites. With a good flight heritage and end-to-end service, AAC Clyde Space wants customers to reach their mission goals through a single, trusted point of contact.
In an outgoing press release, AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Exotrail. Their product is a perfect fit for both our needs and our customer’s requirements. Their modular ExoMG product has a highly compact and flexible form factor with industry leading performance levels, in particular with respect to thrust levels”. Adding to that, David Henri, Co-founder and CEO of Exotrail noted: “AAC Clyde Space is an established specialist in advanced nano-satellite spacecraft missions and provides market-leading New Space solutions. We are delighted te be able to assist them for this mission with our ExoMG-nano. This underlines the relevance of our solutions for optimizing global constellations and our expertise in this growing sector”.
Flight system demonstrator in March
Exotrail started its propulsion system development with a flight demonstrator project. They designed, built, qualified and delivered this in only ten months. They now plan the launch of this flight system demonstrator, initially scheduled to fly in November 2019 onboard a PSLV, in March 2020. This is due to launcher delay. Moreover, the resulting heritage acquired with this project, along with the expertise and innovation put forward in Exotrail’s product development, has allowed the company to secure its first customers. These customer contracts demonstrate that this French start-up’s strategy is paying off. Plus, that the company has moved quickly from vision to reality. They not only provide a propulsion system, but a full set of software, hardware and services.