Sherpa-AC1 CubeSat deployer for Spaceflight, Inc. carrying hosted payloads and CubeSats.

Sherpa-AC1 CubeSat deployer for Spaceflight, Inc. from the USA, carrying hosted payloads and CubeSats was launched with the Transporter-5 RideShare mission on SpaceX’ Falcon 9 rocket on May 25th, 2022.

The Sherpa-AC1 CubeSat deployer is a commercial satellite dispenser developed by Andrews Space, a subsidiary of Spaceflight Industries, and was introduced in 2012. The maiden flight was on December 3rd, 2018 on the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket operated by SpaceX, and it consisted of two separate unpropelled variants of the dispenser.

Riding atop the launcher’s final stage, Sherpas’s release follows deployment of the primary mission payload for the dispensing of Micro-satellites, and CubeSats. Sherpa builds upon the capabilities of the Spaceflight Secondary Payload System (SSPS) by incorporating propulsion and power generation subsystems, which creates a propulsive tug dedicated to maneuvering to an optimal orbit to place secondary and hosted payloads.


Spaceflight, Inc. is an US-based aerospace company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The company specializes in organizing Rideshare space launches of secondary payloads. It was part of Spaceflight Industries until June 2020.

Spaceflight was founded in 2009 as Spaceflight Services by Jason Andrews, with Curt Blake joining soon thereafter as SVP and General Counsel. Prior to founding the company, Andrews worked at Kistler Aerospace and founded Andrews Space in 1999. Blake has previous experience at Microsoft, Starwave, SpaceDev, and GotVoice.

In 2015, Spaceflight Services, Spaceflight Systems (formerly Andrews Space), and Spaceflight Networks, were consolidated under the Spaceflight Industries brand.

Spaceflight Services purchased excess capacity from commercial launch vehicles and resold it to a number of “rideshare” secondary payloads, along with providing integration and certification services. By integrating all of the secondary satellites as one discrete unit to the launch vehicle, they were able to provide a significant price discount to reach orbit compared to buying an entire launch vehicle

Traditionally, access to space has been limited to government entities due to high cost. Sending satellites into orbit once required purchasing an entire rocket; however, with the growing industry of Smallsats, the demand for routine, cost-effective access to space has increased exponentially. Demand, coupled with the growing number of launch vehicle providers, created an opportunity for Spaceflight to assist in identifying, booking and managing rideshare launches.

With a straightforward and cost-effective suite of products and services including state-of-the-art satellite infrastructure, rideshare launch offerings, payload integration and global communications networks, Spaceflight enables commercial, non-profit organizations and government entities get launched, achieving their mission goals, on time and on budget.