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Solar Ship and Loonify Space Announce Strategic Partnership to Develop a Scalable Microsatellite Launch System

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, August 16, 2018 / -- Today, Solar Ship and Loonify Space announced a partnership for developing a rockoon (rocket + balloon) launch platform, offering flexible, affordable, and reliable launch services tailored to microsatellite operators.

Combining Solar Ship’s innovative airship technology and extensive balloon launch experience with Loonify Space’s lightweight rocket design and proprietary navigation algorithms will substantially lower launch costs while accelerating technology development. Satellite launches will therefore become accessible to a wide range of customers and industries. This will expand the number of viable space-based services in Canada with vital applications such as providing satellite internet services to remote communities and conducting environmental monitoring by remote sensing.

Since the late 90’s, the use of microsatellites for earth observation, environmental surveillance, and global communications has grown rapidly, with market for launch services valued at over $1B. Facing high costs (>$50,000 per kg), microsatellite operators piggyback on launches of large spacecraft, forcing them to endure year-long wait times and strict mission constraints imposed by the main payload.

With the development of a novel rockoon launch platform, Loonify Space and Solar Ship aim to significantly reduce launch wait times and costs, providing microsatellite operators with flexibility and control previously only available to big players. Loonify Space and Solar Ship will collaborate to conduct a series of test flights, culminating with an orbital launch. The two companies aim to work with constellation operators, remote communities, and government, at all levels to share data, intelligence, and ideas to work towards the development of reliable, low-cost communication for remote areas.

Loonify’s CEO, Sohrab Haghighat: “Solar Ship has been working with us to develop the balloon technology and operation techniques needed for our launch platform. They are world leaders in airship and balloon innovation and they have great experience in all facets of the business. They have a compelling corporate mission and we share similar values to innovate and use technology to solve problems in the world.”

Solar Ship’s CEO, Jay Godsall: “I knew the first time I met Sohrab he was going to change the world. His team is creating an exciting breakthrough in space launch technology and our teams complement each other well and share the same values. We are excited about what this technology can do for the microsatellite community. Loonify’s technology would provide microsatellite operators with on-demand and affordable access to low earth orbit. This would significantly benefit remote areas around the world, from the Arctic to Africa, for applications in addressing climate change, global connectivity, and threats of war. This is extremely motivating for our team and our community.”

Solar Ship Inc. is a Canadian company with its head office in Toronto and operations in Brantford, Ontario, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Solar Ship develops hybrid aircraft and aerostats to service remote areas. The aircraft uses two forms of lift: static lift, generated by buoyant gas like an airship, combined with the aerodynamic lift of a bush plane. This creates the capacity to fly large loads into areas without infrastructure and it enables the aircraft to fly without the use of fossil fuels. Aerostats use similar materials as the aircraft and do not use fossil fuels. They provide low cost, solar powered internet connectivity in remote areas.

Loonify Space Inc. is a Toronto-based space launch company currently developing a launch platform to offer on-demand launch services to microsatellite operators. Loonify’s solution is based on launching a custom-designed rocket, tailored to the payload, in near vacuum condition and avoiding high speed travel through the dense layers of the atmosphere. This approach allows Loonify Space to maximize efficiency, reduce costs, and offset environmental impact of the launch, especially within the lower layers of the atmosphere.

Jay Godsall
Solar Ship Inc.
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