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SMi MilSatComUSA 2019  Satellite Communications Technology

LeoStella inaugurates state-of-the-art smallsat production facility

(15 February 2019 - LeoStella) LeoStella, a smallsat design and manufacturing company, today announced the official inauguration of its production facilities in Tukwila, Wash.

The company is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries. Formed in March 2018, LeoStella has been developing a state-of-the-art production facility to construct smallsats cost-effectively and at scale.

“With the growing number of constellations, there is a large demand for efficient smallsat production and LeoStella is uniquely positioned to address that demand,” said Chris Chautard, LeoStella CEO. “LeoStella is a unique blend of deep knowledge and expertise from Thales Alenia Space and innovation and agility from Spaceflight Industries. With the new facility, we are equipped to design and manufacture smallsats efficiently.”

The first satellite produced by LeoStella will be an Earth-observation satellite for BlackSky’s constellation. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of Q1 in 2019. The company is contracted to manufacture the next 20 satellites in BlackSky’s constellation.

“LeoStella is positioned to disrupt the smallsat industry,” said Brian O’Toole, president of Spaceflight Industries and CEO of BlackSky. “The company is critical to BlackSky’s success as we work to get our constellation on orbit quickly. Part of making space more accessible is lowering all the costs associated, including the design and construction of the assets placed on orbit. LeoStella will make constellation production lean, nimble and affordable.”

When operating at capacity, LeoStella’s production facilities will enable the company to produce up to 30 satellites a year, ranging from Earth-observation and telecom satellites. Additionally, LeoStella has spent the last year selecting its suppliers and forming partnerships with key vendors.

“LeoStella is fully in line with Thales Alenia Space’s strategy to match the new needs for new space,” said Viktoria Otero Del Val, EVP Strategy at Thales Alenia Space. “It will complement and leverage its undisputed experience of mass production for constellation with its success of Globalstar, O3B and more recently Iridium NEXT, making Thales Alenia Space the worldwide leader for constellations.”

About LeoStella

LeoStella is a state-of-the-art satellite design and manufacturing company transforming constellation construction by building smallsats cost-effectively and at scale. Based in Tukwila, Wash., LeoStella is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space (TAS) and Spaceflight Industries, founded to meet the growing demand for efficient satellite manufacturing from the increasing number of constellations.

About Thales Alenia Space

Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of 2.6 billion euros in 2017 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries.

About Spaceflight Industries

Dedicated to improving our planet and society from the high vantage point of space, Spaceflight Industries’ distinct approach removes the complexities and high cost that once prohibited the majority of organizations from getting to space and observing our planet. Through its services Spaceflight and BlackSky, the company is enabling timely and affordable access to space while redefining how we observe our planet in real time across every spectrum. This combination of innovative satellite design, rideshare launch offerings, global communications networking, and a geospatial intelligence platform provide the insights that transform how we view ourselves and the planet on which we live. Founded in 1999, the Seattle-based company has a well-earned track record of success on a global scale.