The French company Exotrail, which develops spacecraft, has signed a contract with the German developer of launch vehicles Isar Aerospace. Isar was founded in 2018 and is based in Munich. Now the company is developing a small Spectrum launcher, while Isar is going to produce 80% of the rocket, in fact, locally – using the capacities of technology firms around Munich. Spectrum’s first launch is scheduled for 2023. Exotrail and Isar announced that they have signed an agreement for multiple launches of Exotrail ships on a Spectrum rocket between 2024 and 2029. Launches will be carried out from the Norwegian island of Andøya and from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana (South America). The companies did not disclose either the exact number of launches or the cost of the agreement.
Exotrail plans to use these launches to launch its SpaceVan transport vehicle, which it is currently developing, into orbit. SpaceVan can carry up to 100 kg of small satellites on board at a time. Exotrail claims that with SpaceVan, satellites can be deployed quickly and efficiently in multiple planes, altitudes, and tilt angles. She intends to offer this service to companies that have a need to deploy satellite constellations.
Unlike other companies developing orbital vehicles, Exotrail has created an electric propulsion system for its spacecraft. It provides not only an increase in payload and performance, but also the possibility of launching several satellites into different orbits with one device. This cannot be achieved using a chemical engine, the head of the company believes. By the way, Exotrail is not the first orbital vehicle developer to enter into an agreement with Isar. In June, D-Orbit, the Italian space logistics company, announced that it had placed an order with Isar for a Spectrum launch of its ION spacecraft, due as early as 2023.