BlackSky begins commercial operations
(3 June 2019 - BlackSky) Today BlackSky announced it has signed an agreement with HawkEye 360, the first commercial company to use formation-flying satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) data analytics.
As part of the agreement, HawkEye 360 will provide API access to selected RF data for customers interested in global spectrum monitoring. BlackSky intends to integrate data from HawkEye 360’s RF satellites into the BlackSky geospatial platform and resell it to its customers as part of its analytical services.
BlackSky satellites in orbit (courtesy: BlackSky)
“This is a very unique offering that provides key markets such as defense, maritime, and emergency response, with a new layer of high-impact geospatial intelligence,” said Brian O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “Being able to access and visualize this data, fuse it with other data sets, and analyze it within one platform is incredibly valuable.”
“Our combined data sets provide unparalleled visibility into previously undetected activity such as illegal fishing, sanctions violations, and human trafficking,” said Chris DeMay, founder and CTO of HawkEye 360. “By integrating HawkEye 360’s RF data into the BlackSky platform, users can geolocate ships who have attempted to ‘go dark’ and tip-and-cue BlackSky satellites for additional evidence of the illicit activity. HawkEye is excited to partner with BlackSky to provide time-dominant, multi-intelligence global awareness services.”
BlackSky officially began its commercial operations in early May, after successfully completing several significant on-orbit milestones of its first two Earth-imaging spacecraft, Global-1 and -2. All within the BlackSky web-based platform, customers can easily task and acquire imagery from the smallsats to track and monitor changes at locations of interest. The company is scheduled to launch Global-3 and Global-4 in the coming months and plans to launch four more satellites later this year.
“Now that we have fully integrated our constellation with our global intelligence platform and ground station network, we are delivering mission-critical imaging and analytic solutions to our customers,” added O’Toole.
Early users are recognizing BlackSky’s best-in-class order response and image latency across a range of geographies. For example, an international military organization cites the adaptiveness and automation of the BlackSky constellation as vital for delivering critical insights to troops on the ground and in the air. “BlackSky understands and is committed to meeting our demands; it’s a critical tool in developing daily intelligence reports.”
With eight satellites on orbit by the end of this year, BlackSky expects to deliver more than five revisits per day over many sites of interest; by 2020, with more than 16 smallsats on orbit, revisits will double and provide hourly monitoring. Once on orbit, the 16 satellites will provide frequent revisit rates of 95 percent of the Earth’s population. The constellation’s goal is to provide a fast revisit rate critical for monitoring global events or locations, as well as low latency.
About HawkEye 360
Herndon, VA-based HawkEye 360 is a Radio Frequency (RF) data analytics company. We operate a first-of-its-kind commercial satellite constellation to identify, process, and geolocate a broad set of RF signals. We extract value from this unique data through proprietary algorithms, fusing it with other sources to create powerful analytical products that solve hard challenges for our global customers. Our products include maritime domain awareness and spectrum mapping and monitoring; our customers include a wide range of commercial, government and international entities.
BlackSky’s premier global monitoring and alerting services provide an easy, affordable way to observe, analyze and act on timely and relevant insights about the planet. BlackSky combines access to high-quality satellite images from multiple sources, including its own planned 60-satellite constellation, with a diverse set of real-time sensor data such as social media, news and other data feeds. Whether you’re tracking economic assets, monitoring illegal maritime activity, or securing troops and borders, BlackSky ensures you have the most current and meaningful information at your fingertips so you can make well-informed decisions. BlackSky is part of Spaceflight Industries and based in Seattle, Wash.