12 11 19


A Risk Reduction Prior To The NASA Pathfinder Mission

Test For Success

Pony Express 1 is a dual-use payload that enables mesh networks in space through HiveStar™ and a second function that tests space-to-ground remote sensing. Lockheed Martin launched the Pony Express 1 mission as a hosted payload on Tyvak-0129, a next-generation Terran Orbital 6U spacecraft.​ Pony Express 1 will usher in a new era of space-based computing that will enable artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud networking, and advanced satellite communications in a robust new software-defined architecture.

An example of rapid prototyping, Terran Orbital developed, built, and integrated Pony Express 1 in nine months. The spacecraft and its payload are funded completely by Lockheed Martin Research and Development.

Pony Express 1 validates payload hardware and software and is packed with new technology that fits into a satellite the size of a shoebox. Some of the key technologies being flight-tested include:​

  • HiveStar software validates advanced adaptive mesh communications between satellites, and shared processing capabilities and can take advantage of sensors aboard other smart satellites to customize missions in new ways previously difficult to achieve in space.
  • A software-defined radio that allows for high-bandwidth hosting of multiple RF applications, store-and-forward RF collection, data compression, digital signal processing, and waveform transmission.
  • 3D-printed wideband antenna housing developed by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Research Technology Center.

The second hosted payload, the Mini-Monolith, demonstrates a novel, small-diameter mono-telescope developed by Laurence Livermore National Labs.




Technology Demonstrator


Elbit Systems


6U Satellite

Launch Date

December 11, 2019

Launch Vehicle


Mission Length


Mission Completion



ISRO has envisaged a number of variants of PSLV to cater to different mission requirements. There are currently two operational versions of the PSLV — the core-alone (PSLV-CA) without strap-on motors, and the (PSLV-XL) version, with six extended length (XL) strap-on motors carrying 12 tons of HTPB based propellant each. These configurations provide wide variations in payload capabilities up to 3,800 kg (8,400 lb) in LEO and 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) in sun-synchronous orbit.

PSLV-QL variant has four ground-lit strap-on boosters, each with 12 tons of propellant. PSLV-C45 on 1 April 2019 was the first flight of PSLV-QL. It has the capacity to launch 1,523 kg (3,358 lb) to 600 km (370 mi) Sun-synchronous orbit.

Follow Us