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_ Nov 11, 2023 _ News

Mission Updates: LEO Express-1

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

Mission: LEO Express-1 | Status: Ongoing | Impulse Vehicle: Mira

Launcher: SpaceX | Mission: Transporter-9 | Site: Vandenberg | Date: November 2023


LEO Express-1 is the inaugural mission for Impulse’s Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV), Mira. Launched on the SpaceX Transporter-9 mission in November 2023, the ongoing mission has achieved the following set of milestones:

  • Rapid Development: From a blank-sheet design to an operational spacecraft in space in under 15 months.
  • TRL9 Technology: In-house developed thrusters, valves, ignitors, pressure transducers, star trackers, cameras, core avionics, and lightweight composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) tanks, all achieved TRL 9.
  • Advanced Software Capabilities: Ground-up builds of new flight software (FSW) and guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) capabilities.
  • Green Propellants: Rapid propellant loading using environmentally friendly propellants sourced from a domestic supply chain.
  • Autonomous Operations: Autonomous sun pointing and system checkouts post-deployment.
  • State-of-the-Art Mission Control: All operations conducted from our state-of-the-art Mission Control center.
  • Communication and Control: Successfully established two-way communication and control with the vehicle.
  • Power Positive Operations: Achieved power positive operations ensuring sustained functionality.
  • 3-axis Attitude Control: Demonstrated 3-axis attitude control through 16x reaction control thrusters.
  • CubeSat Deployment: Successful deployment of a customer's 3U CubeSat.
  • Thruster Ignition Success: First-try ignition of all eight bi-propellant Saiph thrusters.
  • Orbital Debris Management: Implemented Orbital Debris Avoidance procedures within 48 hours of notice.

The ongoing LEO Express-1 mission represents a remarkable achievement in rapid spacecraft development, reliable technology, and sustainable space operations. The mission continues to push boundaries, showcasing our advancements and in-space transportation capabilities.

The Impulse team with Mira

The Impulse team with Mira


December 26th, 2023

Update 6: Dodging Orbital Debris During the Holidays 🎄

Today, our Mira orbit transfer vehicle executed a collision avoidance maneuver in response to a potential collision risk identified by the US Space Force. The maneuver successfully eliminated any possibility of collision! Thanks to our Mission Operations team for working during the holidays to track this risk and react accordingly. Being prepared to perform these maneuvers on short notice is a crucial part of responsible spacecraft operations.

Mira orbital elements during the maneuver

Mira orbital elements during the maneuver

December 21, 2023

Update 5: First-try ignition of all eight bi-propellant Saiph thrusters!

Mira has Impulse! Yesterday marked a major milestone as we executed a flawless first-time firing of all eight 5lb (22N) Saiph thrusters on our orbital transfer vehicle, Mira—hats off to our team for their engineering preparation and a well-tested system.

Saiph thruster acceptance testing and integration to Mira

Saiph thruster acceptance testing and integration to Mira

December 4th, 2023

UPDATE 4: Customer Deployment — TrustPoint 3U CubeSat

Mira successfully deployed its payload, a 3U CubeSat for Trustpoint. Thank you, TrustPoint, for flying on LEO Express-1!

November 13, 2023

UPDATE 3: Successful Vehicle Commissioning

Great news for our Mira LEO Express 1 mission — we are receiving data and spacecraft health is good!

November 11th, 2023

UPDATE 2: Transporter-9 Launch 🚀

Mira launched on its inaugural mission, LEO Express-1, from Vandenberg Space Force Base (SLC-4E) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Go Mira!

SpaceX Transporter-9 Launch

SpaceX Transporter-9 Launch

November 1st, 2023

UPDATE 1: Mira is ready for Space

Mira and the Impulse team

Mira and the Impulse team

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