Love At First Insight Lift-Off Source (Source: Rocket Lab)

BlackSky completes 12 satellite imaging constellation

Last week BlackSky reached its goal of putting a total of 12 satellites into space by the end of 2022.  The company added 6 satellites to its constellation this fall, launching three times in quick succession, with each launch placing two satellites into orbit.

“This is an incredible achievement for BlackSky and the industry. Our ability to rapidly launch, deploy, and commission on-orbit capacity provides customers with confidence that they will have access to the insights they need to support critical operations,” said Brian E. O’Toole, BlackSky CEO. “At a time when many suppliers are facing the challenges of an aging constellation, BlackSky is bringing significant capacity into the market.”

The company is now able to offer the highest commercial revisit rate in the world, enabling up to 15 hourly visits per day over certain locations. The six new satellites were turned up within hours of reaching orbit and successfully commissioned into operations within 48 hours.  Two BlackSky satellites were launched via Rocket Lab Electron on November 18, 2022, followed by two more satellites as rideshare passengers onboard a SpaceX Starlink launch December 2.  The most recent two BlackSky satellites were put into space on December 9.

Imagery is processed through BlackSky’s Spectra AI platform, delivering insights to customers within hours. The AI platform serves as a tasking and analytics engine that fuses multiple data sources of information with its geospatial imagery from the company’s constellation. Through a subscription-based model, Spectra AI delivers real-time geospatial intelligence products to customers without the need for human intervention in processing or analysis.

BlackSky ultimately plans to operate a constellation of 60 imaging satellites. The company went public in September of this year through a SPAC, raising $283 million. Closing out the year, it also boasts a multi-year investment partnership with Palantir and securing several U.S. government contracts.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *