“Until bluShift came along, MaxIQ had not been able to secure a reliable launch partner for student-led science payloads,” said Judi Sandrock, president of MaxIQ. “It is very important to be able to secure affordable space launches for student payloads so that students may further their academic research and help all of humanity understand the dramatic changes taking place here on Earth.”
Included in the agreement with bluShift are test flights, suborbital launches, and eventually orbital launches. The contract with bluShift represents a minimum of 60 dedicated MaxIQ experiments per launch that will serve students in the STEM fields.
“This ongoing purchase order from MaxIQ signals the strong demand for affordable and frequent science payloads to space,” said Sascha Deri, CEO and founder of bluShift Aerospace. “We are incredibly excited to provide MaxIQ with launches that are not only flexible and cost-competitive, but that are powered by a bio-derived, nontoxic fuel.”
Last January an all-female team of high school students from Falmouth, Maine, worked with bluShift and MaxIQ to launch a science payload. The students used modular kits from MaxIQ to perform data-gathering through the flight. MaxIQ continues to work with the Falmouth High School team, and with student-led teams around the world.
However, Sandrock notes with frustration that students across the U.S. do not have the ability to learn the practical skills necessary to enter the aerospace industry, and that current academic customer payloads are often inadequate, unaffordable, or both.
“Nobody is addressing the university requirements to launch payloads into space, and there are too many young people right now who we can’t employ because they don’t have adequate skills to get the work done,” she said. “MaxIQ’s modular science kit technology combined with bluShift’s launches finally makes it possible for students to design, build, and launch space science projects within one academic year. It’s a game changer for our academic customers across the globe,” she added.
MaxIQ is working with Princeton University, Stanford University and other academic institutions to advance the acquisition of critical skills and to expand student access to space programs. Their partnership with bluShift Aerospace enables MaxIQ Space to secure student payloads on a regular and reliable basis, achieving the goal of delivering a full satellite systems engineering project, from idea to launch, within one academic year.
Announcement of the purchase order from MaxIQ comes as bluShift passes the half-way mark in its $1.07 million crowd equity Wefunder campaign, and as the company hones in on a launch site location off the coast of Maine to begin suborbital launches for its next rocket Starless Rogue.
The nanosatellite launch market is projected to hit $69 billion by the year 2030.