SpaceX Plans Friday Launch of Starlink Satellites

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

Update: The launch has been scrubbed for Friday. SpaceX tweeted that engineers needed additional time for pre-launch checks. The company has not announced a new launch date and time.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Friday, June 26 at 4:18 p.m. EDT, 20:18 UTC, for launch of its tenth Starlink mission, which will include 57 Starlink satellites and 2 satellites from BlackSky, a Spaceflight customer. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.

(more…)

LeoStella Delivers First BlackSky Satellites from its New Production Line

TUKWILA, Wa., June 22, 2020 – LeoStella, a specialized satellite constellation design and manufacturer, announced today the delivery of the first two satellites fully manufactured from its state-of-the-art production line. The satellites are the fifth and sixth of an ongoing Earth observation constellation program for the global monitoring company, BlackSky.

LeoStella’s intelligent manufacturing facility is the first of its kind and opened in 2019. The satellites were delivered to the launch facility on June 1, 2020 and have been prepared for an upcoming SpaceX launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

LeoStella’s ability to minimize costs and reduce development and manufacturing time helps meet the increasing demand for satellite constellations in a time sensitive ecosystem. 

(more…)

BlackSky Launches Spectra On-Demand Secure Bundle for Intelligence Analysts

Image from BlackSky Spectra, displaying visible, SAR, and IR data over Panama City and the Miraflores Locks. (Images from Airbus Pléiades, Airbus TerraSAR-X, and USGS Landsat; some of the bans are IR, some are visible), respectively. (Credit: Spaceflight Industries)

For the first time, BlackSky offers remote access for intelligence analystsdue to COVID-19 pandemic

HERNDON, VA – BlackSky, a leading provider of geospatial intelligence, global monitoring services and satellite imaging, announced today its new Spectra On-Demand Secure Bundle to support remote work options for intelligence analysts. The new Spectra solution allows analysts to securely share unclassified information. The Spectra On-Demand Secure Bundle includes the ability to review multi-source data feeds, obtain timely access to satellite imagery and gain resources for event analysis.

(more…)

BlackSky Secures $50 Million in Funding From Intelsat

Herndon, Va., November 12, 2019 (BlackSky PR) — BlackSky, a leading provider of geospatial intelligence, satellite imaging and global monitoring services, announced it has secured a $50 million senior secured loan from global satellite communications leader, Intelsat (NYSE: I). The transaction results in an industry first, creating a strategic relationship that pairs Earth observation with a global communications infrastructure.

The new capital will allow BlackSky to augment existing assets and alliances, ensuring BlackSky remains a leader in delivering actionable Earth intelligence faster, with greater accuracy and more affordably than anyone else in the industry.  Over time, BlackSky could incorporate access to Intelsat’s robust global communications infrastructure, delivering first-to-know insights to customers no matter where in the world they are.

(more…)

Rocket Lab Launch Reset for Tuesday New Zealand Time

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

After a scrub due to high winds, Rocket Lab has rescheduled its latest Electron Look Ma, No Hands launch for no earlier than Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 12:12 am NZST (12:12 UTC/8:12 am EDT).

Rocket Lab’s eighth mission will carry four satellites, including: a Cubesat for French maritime surveillance company UNSEENLABS ; BlackSky’s Global-4 Earth-imaging satellite; and two U.S. Air Force Space Command experimental satellites designed to test new propulsion, power, communications, and drag technologies.

Rocket Lab will webcast the launch at www.rocketlabusa.com.

Rocket Lab to Launch 4 Satellites in Look Ma, No Hands Mission

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab’s eighth mission will lift-off in August from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying a total of four satellites aboard an Electron launch vehicle.

The mission is manifested with satellites destined to begin a new constellation for UNSEENLABS, as well as more rideshare payloads for Spaceflight, consisting of a spacecraft for BlackSky and the United States Air Force Space Command.

The first launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, Aug. 16 at 12:57 UTC (8:57 EDT). The launch window is open until Aug. 30.

(more…)

Rocket Lab’s August Mission Focused On Building Constellations And Enabling R&D

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today announced its next launch is a mission carrying satellites destined to begin a new constellation for UNSEENLABS, as well as more rideshare payloads for Spaceflight, consisting of a spacecraft for BlackSky and the United States Air Force Space Command.

The mission – named ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ – will lift-off in August from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying a total of four satellites aboard an Electron launch vehicle.

(more…)

Rocket Lab Successfully Launches Rideshare Mission for Spaceflight

Rocket Lab’s launch site on New Zealand Mahia Peninsula as seen from the Electron booster. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Rocket Lab’s Electron booster successfully launched the “Make it Rain” rideshare mission for Seattle-based Spaceflight from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula on Saturday.

The mission lofted seven satellites, including: BlackSky’s Global-3 imaging microsat; two U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Prometheus reconnaissance CubeSats; two Swarm SpaceBEE satellites; Melbourne Space Program’s ACRUX-1 CubeSat; and one spacecraft from an undisclosed customer. The payloads weighed 80 kg (176.4 lb).

The BlackSky Global-3 imaging satellite was developed, designed and manufactured by BlackSky of the United States. The company is a provider of geospatial intelligence, satellite imaging and global monitoring services.

It was the sixth successful Electron launch in a row out of seven attempts and the third flight of 2019.  Rocket Lab has now orbited 35 satellites on its six successful missions.

The mission’s name was drawn from the high volume of rainfall in Seattle where Spaceflight is headquartered and at the Mahia Peninsula where Electron from which Electron is launched.











Spaceflight’s First Rideshare Mission Aboard a Rocket Lab Electron Readies for Launch

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

SEATTLE (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch seven spacecraft from five organizations later this month on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1 at the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This mission, also called “Make It Rain” by Rocket Lab as a nod to the weather in both Seattle and New Zealand, represents Spaceflight’s first of five launches scheduled with Rocket Lab this year.

(more…)











BlackSky Begins Commercial Operations, Signs Agreement with HawkEye 360 to Include Radio Frequency Data in Geospatial Platform

Final integration of BlackSky Pathfinder spacecraft. (Credit: BlackSky Global)

SAN ANTONIO,  June 3, 2019 (BlackSky PR) – Today at the USGIF-sponsored GEOINT Symposium in San Antonio, BlackSky, a leading provider of geospatial intelligence, satellite imaging, and global monitoring services, 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.

(more…)











BlackSky Completes Critical On-Orbit Milestones with Global-1 and -2 Satellites

Global-1 satellite (Credit: BlackSky)

Colorado Springs, Colo., April 9, 2019 (BlackSky PR) — Today, at the 35th Space Symposium, held in Colorado Springs, Colo., BlackSky, a leading provider of geospatial intelligence, satellite imaging, and global monitoring services, announced it has successfully achieved several significant on-orbit milestones of its first two Earth-imaging spacecraft, Global-1 and -2. Demonstrating the full operational performance of the spacecraft, the company showcased several images of economic points of interest taken by the first two smallsats in its high-revisit, Earth-imaging constellation.

(more…)











LeoStella Inaugurates State-of-the-Art Smallsat Production Facility

Satellite production facility (Credit: LeoStella)

Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries joint venture plans to disrupt the smallsat industry by producing cost-effective satellites at scale

TUKWILA, Wash., Feb. 15, 2019 (LeoStella PR) – 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, joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), 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.

(more…)











BlackSky Selects ATLAS to Provide Ground Station Support for Earth Imaging Constellation

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – July 17, 2018 (Atlas Space Operations PR) — ATLAS Space Operations, Inc., a company that provides satellite communications as a service through an innovative software-driven, high data flow global antenna network, announced today that BlackSky has selected ATLAS to provide telemetry, commanding, and data support for its high-revisit, Earth imaging constellation of satellites. ATLAS will be offering this support via new ground station sites in Guam and Japan to further maximize the performance of the BlackSky constellation.

(more…)