Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has told Hyperbola that its Prisma formation flying satellite(s) that might have flown on a Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon is now to fly on a Dnepr rocket in February 2010. SSC senior vice president for global sales Svante Stenbom told Hyperbola that the presence of SSC on the SpaceX manifest had more to do with an agreement to express an interest than any actual concrete contract – while SpaceX’s loss of the UK telecoms sat Hylas to Arianespace seems to have been more significant. Stenbom said SSC had not made any milestone payments to SpaceX. While SpaceX has announced its Orbcomm and Astrium launch deals Hyperbola wonders how many other items on SpaceX’s manifest have been just expressions of interest. Stenbom denied that the Orbcomm launch schedule had made the delayed February 2010 Prisma launch impossible and that the Dnepr had always been an option for the company
Hyperbola also spoke to Surrey Satellite Technology’s public relations people about the slightly strange Space X, EADS Astrium, SSTL announcement for an unnamed Earth observation spacecraft launch at an uncertain date in the future but no further details are forthcoming
SSC’s press office just emailed Hyperbola this: “We intentended to use Falcon for the launch of the Prisma satellites, however, we were not able to wait so we had to choose another launcher this time.” The comment does add weight to the conspiracy theory that Prisma was squeezed out by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Orbcomm commitments in 2010. Prisma was supposed to launch this year and was delayed to February 2010 so how long was this unacceptable wait?