In Space

Space Image

Launcher SN1 Orbital Vehicle Fails

Launcher, a launch services startup has confirmed that their first orbital transfer vehicles has failed.

  • More details coming soon...
Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Sat Feb 18 2023Written by Zac Aubert

Launcher, a launch services startup has confirmed that their first orbital transfer vehicles has failed.

In a statement from Launcher on February 16th, they confirmed Orbiter SN1 suffered a vehicle malfunction shortly after being deployed from the 2nd stage of a Falcon 9 rocket during the Transporter 6 rideshare mission on January 3rd.


The orbiter could not properly orient itself leading to its solar cells being unable to generate power. Launcher says the vehicle communicated with ground stations on its first scheduled pass overs following deployment. “We also communicated with the vehicle for the duration of expected battery life”

Launcher believes that failure is due to a “fault in our GPS antenna system”. With the orbiter failing to get into its designated attitude and batteries being drained, it was unable to deploy its satellite payloads.

“While achieving many internal mission objectives in the development of our Orbiter spacecraft and collecting critical data from the successful on-orbit operation, unfortunately, we failed to deploy our customer payloads”

Who Was Onboard?

Orbiter had 8 customers on board with 6 planning to deploy satellites and 2 whose payload would remain on the vehicle.

  • TRL11

  • Stanford Student Space Initiative

  • Bronco Space | Cal Poly Pomona

  • Innova Space

  • NPC Spacemind

  • Logitech Mevo

  • Alba Orbital

  • Beyond Burials

Launcher has said they have been in “constant communication” with those customers throughout the efforts to recover Orbiter SN1. “We have committed to accommodations beyond our contractual requirements to our customers on this mission.”

Future Missions

Launcher had plans to fly 2 more Orbiter vehicles later this year, one on SpaceX Transporter 8 scheduled for June and one on SpaceX Transporter 9 scheduled for October.

The company has said it will make a number modifications to their future Orbiter vehicles, including an improved GPS subsystem and software changes to prevent a similar problem from occurring again. They will also be updating its guidance, navigation and control software with a “robust” safe mode and incorporating an improved battery with double the capacity. The will also add a backup spacecraft separation system.