Space Mission Planning: Cutting Mission Costs

In this blog post, we look at space missions and how Orbital Transports allows SmallSat companies to cut mission delivery costs through its innovative Managed Supply Chain Services.

Blog Post Overview:
This blog came from a live webinar featuring Jeff Kruken, Vice President for Business Growth at Orbital Transports, and David Hurst, the CEO and Founder of Orbital Transports.

It was part of a series focusing on the challenges of satellite missions, covering costs, timelines and risks.

About Orbital Transports

Orbital Transports focusses on optimizing SmallSat supply chains through a managed service. In the previous webinars and blogs, we explored strategies for reducing mission delivery times and cutting risks. This blog delves deeper into the critical aspect of reducing costs across the entire mission life cycle.

Small Satellite Catalog:

The SmallSat Catalog is a curated digital portal encompassing products and services for the SmallSat industry. The catalog includes small satellite buses, subsystems, components, software packages, ground station networks, and launch providers, offering a comprehensive one-stop-shop for small satellite missions.

Why the SmallSat Catalog?

The origins of the SmallSat Catalog came from the industry's shift from building everything from scratch to leveraging off-the-shelf products. The catalog serves as a time-saving resource, providing a curated selection of products with flight heritage or flight qualification.

The Contributors to SmallSat Mission Costs:

So, what are the primary contributors to small satellite mission costs?

These are primarily the time and effort spent on mission development, component procurement costs, launch expenses, and the often-overlooked operational costs.

Supply chain problems, especially delays and disruptions, can significantly contribute to schedule slippage and increased costs.

Challenges Faced by Startups:

There are significant challenges facing by startups, from the time-consuming nature of researching vendors through to potential disruptions due to vendor consolidation or failure. Many times there is a preference to wanting to own the entire supply chain and but this ignores the risks associated with such an approach.

The Role of Managed Supply Chain Services:

The benefits of Orbital Transports' Managed Supply Chain Services, come from the efficiency of outsourcing supply chain management to specialists. The service streamlines procurement processes, manages relationships with suppliers, and mitigates risks associated with supply chain disruptions

Investor Considerations:

It is a strong conversation to have with investors in Space businesses. Orbital Transports have actually helped companies with assistance in explaining to investors how managed supply chain services contribute to more efficient use of funds compared to in-house supply chain management.

The Supply Chain Pyramid:

The whole catalog - and the safety and risk mitigation it provides across the supply chain - supports the concept of the supply chain pyramid, defining the tiers of products required from satellite operators to hardware and materials providers.

Disruptions at lower levels of the pyramid can impact satellite operations and launch times, underscoring the importance of a managed supply chain service with built-in fail-safe mechanisms to avoid reliance on single suppliers.

The Regulatory Aspect:

Often overlooked is the regulatory aspect of supply chain management, including ITAR regulations and FCC compliance.

This is a particular issue for non-US companies working there for the first time. Orbital Transports assists clients in navigating regulatory requirements and ensures seamless compliance in international transactions.

The Unified Supply Chain Service Theory:

The Unified Supply Chain Service theory focusses on the efficiency gained by
outsourcing supply chain management. This enhances productivity and revenue, and
those companies that don't embrace it lose speed and efficiency, and add risks.

Learn More:
To learn more about Orbital Transports' services or join our partner network, reach out
via or go to
And Jeff Kruken can be contacted on