Foxconn has officially signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with Exolaunch to manage the mission, deploy the orbital hardware, and provide associated services for its first fleet of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Exolaunch, a key player in the space industry, specializes in rideshare launch services and space logistics, focusing on deploying various small satellites.
With over a decade of spaceflight experience and more than 320 satellite launches as of October 2023, Exolaunch is well-prepared to ensure the smooth launch and placement of Foxconn’s two satellites, named PEARL-1H and PEARL-1C. The Pearl is a substantial 6U CubeSat, weighing 8.8 kilograms, designed to validate concepts in B5G and 6G satellite communication and experimentation. It will orbit in a Sun-synchronous pattern at an altitude of 525 kilometers.
The launch of these satellites is scheduled to take place as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-9 mission at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on the Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E), with an expected launch date in November 2023.
This partnership not only demonstrates Foxconn’s commitment to its low Earth orbit satellite strategy but also positions Taiwan as a “satellite systems integration company” in the international space industry. It allows Taiwan to effectively merge components of the satellite industry’s supply chain, establishing a solid presence in the ground segment and paving the way for capitalizing on satellite service opportunities.
The successful launch and completion of the payload mission could propel Taiwan’s low Earth orbit satellite industry, expanding its presence in the ground segment where it already has an advantage. It also provides an entry point into the space segment, opening opportunities for satellite service engagements.
This launch project serves as a platform for the conceptual validation of low Earth orbit satellite broadband communication and showcases the collaboration between industry and academia. Foxconn’s ability to meet the challenges of the innovative new space industry is highlighted through this inaugural satellite project, which encompasses critical components, subsystems, and assembly integration testing.