BlackSky image with AI processing, Port Elizabeth, South Africa (Source: BlackSky)

BlackSky announces 3Q results, NASA contract

Today, geospatial intelligence company BlackSky announced its third quarter results and its latest customer win. The company announced revenues of $7.9 million, up 49% from 3Q 2020 and a net loss of $46.9 million along with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $16.2 million and a 5 year contract with NASA.

BlackSky, having gone public on the New York Stock Exchange via SPAC this quarter, had a cash balance at the end of the third quarter of $198 million with its total revenues up over 53% on a year-to-date basis.

“We demonstrated strong execution across all aspects of our business as we continue our mission of providing our customers a first-to-know advantage. BlackSky is leading a new era in real-time global intelligence. Achievements during the quarter include positive sales traction, expansion of our global sales force and pipeline, and progress on the expansion of our constellation and artificial intelligence enabled SaaS platform,” stated Brian E. O’Toole, Chief Executive Officer. “The third quarter included several major milestones. Most importantly, BlackSky completed its business combination with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp., grossing $283 million of cash to fund our growth plan.”

Among the contract wins BlackSky touted in its first quarter as a public company was a five-year, sole source blanket purchase agreement by NASA to provide high revisit satellite imagery in support of the agency’s existing Earth observation research to advance predictive capabilities. Under the agreement, NASA may issue multi-million dollar orders for BlackSky imagery.

Other awards included the expansion of an existing commercial imagery contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) due to an increase in demand from operational end users for BlackSky’s high revisit imagery. Imagery deliveries under the contract increased 100% from the second quarter to the third quarter as BlackSky further integrates its solutions into the day-to-day operations of the agency.

Two more 3Q highlights underlined BlackSky’s work with artificial intelligence. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded the company a $30 million, five year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract for AI enabled economic monitoring and the company signed a strategic commercial agreement with Palantir Technologies Inc. to accelerate delivering BlackSky’s solutions to Palantir’s customers and end users through the integration of BlackSky’s platform. As part of the strategic partnership, Palantir invested in BlackSky through a subscription agreement.

For 2021, BlackSky revised its 2021 revenue forecast from $40 million to a range of $30 to $34 million, driven by the timing of new contract start dates and supply chain impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to see robust pipeline growth that reflects strong demand from both government and commercial customers. BlackSky is well positioned to capture that demand,” O’Toole explained. “Recent awards from the NRO, NGA, and NASA demonstrate that BlackSky is emerging as a partner of choice and that customers recognize the value of our high revisit imagery and our advanced AI enabled analytics. We are winning and extending multi-year contracts, which strengthens our visibility into out-year revenues.”

BlackSky’s current constellation of satellites in combination with the imagery capabilities of its partners’ constellations enables the company to image locations on earth multiple times of day, with collected data flowing into the company’s data lake and AI/ML platform accessible via web browser.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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