BlackSky accelerates constellation deployment with five Rocket Lab launches
(25 March 2021 - BlackSky) BlackSky today reported it has secured five Rocket Lab missions to deploy nine satellites between March and the end of 2021.
The first of these launches took place on March 22, 2021. The company is accelerating the deployment of its constellation of Gen-2, high-revisit, high-resolution imaging satellites and expects to deliver capabilities in 2021 that were originally planned for delivery in 2022.
These launch missions enable BlackSky to fast-track its plans to offer one-hour average dawn-to-dusk imaging revisits and 90-minute average delivery times for its customers. In 2023, BlackSky expects to begin including its recently announced Gen-3 satellites, which are intended to have 50 cm resolution and short-wave infrared (SWIR) for low light and nighttime imaging capabilities, moving toward the completion of its projected 30-spacecraft constellation.
The multi-launch agreement, inked with launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. who will manage the integration and launch services for BlackSky, includes the launch of nine BlackSky satellites across five Electron missions this year.
“These deployments with Rocket Lab are intended to advance our delivery of real-time geospatial intelligence solutions to our government and commercial customers worldwide,” said Brian E. O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “Combined with our AI/ML platform, Spectra AI, BlackSky aims to provide customers with access to dawn-to-dusk global monitoring of key locations around the world. We’re proud to be working with Rocket Lab to achieve this launch cadence and advance our constellation network configuration, which is the foundation of our high-revisit imaging performance.”
Collectively, BlackSky, Spaceflight and Rocket Lab are demonstrating how established expertise, shared understanding of systems, and innovative technologies work together to help accelerate speed to space.
“We’re thrilled to be providing BlackSky with dedicated, rapid, and reliable launches on Electron. Flying on dedicated Electron launches provides BlackSky with certainty around launch schedule, control over tailored orbits, and confidence and reliability at a critical time in its constellation and business development,” said Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab. “After two back-to-back launches for BlackSky on Electron in 2019 and our latest just this week, we’re fortunate to continue partnering with industry leaders to deliver reliable and rapid access to space.”
LeoStella, BlackSky’s smallsat development and manufacturing partner, produced the nine BlackSky Gen-2 satellites that are being delivered to Rocket Lab’s launch site in New Zealand.
About BlackSky Holdings
BlackSky is a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence. BlackSky monitors activities and facilities worldwide by harnessing the world’s emerging sensor networks and leveraging its own satellite constellation. BlackSky processes millions of observations from its constellation as well as a variety of space, IoT, and terrestrial based sensors and data feeds. BlackSky’s on-demand constellation of satellites can image a location multiple times throughout the day. BlackSky monitors for pattern-of-life anomalies to produce alerts and enhance situational awareness. BlackSky’s monitoring service, Spectra AI, is powered by cutting-edge compute techniques including machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing. BlackSky’s global monitoring solution is available via a simple subscription and requires no IT infrastructure or setup. On February 17, 2021, BlackSky entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination (the “Merger Agreement”) with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp. (“Osprey”) (NYSE: SFTW) that would result in BlackSky becoming a publicly listed company.
About Rocket Lab
As a global leader in launch and space systems, Rocket Lab is transforming space access. Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab provides end-to-end mission services that provide frequent and reliable access to space for civil, defense, and commercial markets. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron and Neutron launch vehicles and Photon satellite platform. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 104 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab operates two launch sites, including the world’s only private orbital launch site located in New Zealand, and a second launch site in Virginia, USA.
About Spaceflight Inc.
As the premier global launch services provider, Spaceflight is revolutionizing the business of space transportation through its comprehensive suite of launch services and Sherpa® orbital transfer vehicles. The company provides unprecedented launch flexibility to ensure customers' smallsats get to orbit exactly when and where they want through a combination of long-standing relationships with a diverse portfolio of launch partners, innovative satellite integration capabilities, including flight and ground support hardware, licensing and logistics management, and extensive mission management expertise. Based in Seattle, Spaceflight has successfully launched hundreds of satellites and is a part of the Mitsui & Co., Ltd. portfolio, operating as an independent, U.S.-based company.
Osprey is a special purpose acquisition corp., or SPAC, that was established as a collaboration between investment firms HEPCO Capital Management, led by Jonathan and Edward Cohen, and JANA Partners, led by Barry Rosenstein and with its SPAC initiative led by JANA Partner David DiDomenico, who serves as Osprey’s CEO, President, and Director. Osprey was formed to consummate a transaction with one or more transformative companies that have developed innovative software delivery platforms.