BlackSky Awarded $1.7M NASA Contract to Advance Earth Science Research

BlackSky’s Dynamic Monitoring to provide data for innovative research on global change

HERNDON, Va. (BlackSky Technology Inc. PR) — BlackSky Technology Inc. (NYSE: BKSY) received its first call order, worth $1.7 million, from NASA to evaluate accessibility, accuracy, quality and utility of the Company’s imaging data services for the Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition (CSDA) Program.

“New discoveries in Earth science can be accelerated with innovative research methods and real-time dynamic data sets that keep up with the increasingly rapid pace and scale of change on our planet,” said Dr. Patrick O’Neil, BlackSky chief innovation officer.

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Planet to Provide Real-Time Data and Connectivity Solutions for NASA’s CSP

Planet Selected as Subcontractor for SES Government Solutions and Telesat Government Solutions to Help Build Real-time Connectivity Solutions

SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PR) — Planet Labs PBC (NYSE: PL), a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced that it has been selected by two companies, SES Government Solutions and Telesat Government Solutions, to demonstrate real-time space-to-space connectivity solutions from LEO satellites to other in-space communication satellites operated by SES and Telesat for NASA’s Communication Services Project, or “CSP”.

With NASA’s plans to decommission its owned and operated satellites which are a part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) in the coming years, the agency will evaluate the feasibility of commercial networks to reliably support future near-Earth missions. As part of Planet’s involvement in CSP, Planet will accelerate its R&D for near-Earth space communication capabilities on its future earth-observation satellites. Planet will work to demonstrate its state-of-the art communication technology stack involving real-time satellite connectivity for NASA’s CSP, with the goal of further building its relationship with the agency and enabling low latency solutions for Planet customers.

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Argos-4 Environmental, Wildlife Tracking Instrument Poised for Fall Launch

An artist’s rendering of the General Atomics GAzelle satellite, carrying the Argos-4 instrument. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA and CNES, the French space agency, are just two months away from the planned launch of Argos-4, an advanced satellite instrument that will track the movement of wildlife, particularly marine mammals and sea turtles, while also collecting critical environmental data around the world. 

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The Past Week in Launches: SpaceX & China Launch Twice, a Soyuz Rideshare and India Falls Short

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle lifts off on maiden flight. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the past week, SpaceX launched 98 Starlink satellites, a Chinese commercial launch provider made it three in a row, Russia launched a rideshare mission with an Iranian satellite aboard, and India’s new small satellite launcher fell just short of orbit.

There have been 103 orbital launches worldwide, with 99 successes and four failures.

Let’s take a closer look at the last week in launch.

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Capella Space Unveils Next Generation Satellite with Enhanced Imagery Capabilities and Communication Features

Artist rendering of the Capella Space third generation satellite, Acadia. (Credit: Capella Space)

Capellas third-generation synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites offer highest quality imagery, best resolution, and fastest order-to-delivery speeds

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 10, 2022 (Capella Space PR) –– Capella Space, a leading Earth observation company, today unveiled several new capabilities planned for its next generation satellites, further expanding the company’s cutting-edge, premium data offerings. This new generation of Capella satellites, referred to as “Acadia” technology, will expand the existing Capella constellation to provide highest quality imagery, best ground-range resolution, and the fastest order-to-delivery speeds available from any commercial SAR provider.

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The Best Laid Plans: Europe’s Ambitious Launch Year Goes Awry Due to International Tensions, Schedule Delays

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December 2021 on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Christmas Day 2021, an European Ariane 5 rocket roared off its launch pad in French Guiana with the most expensive payload the booster had ever carried, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope. The launcher performed perfectly, sending the most powerful space telescope on a journey to its final destination 1.5 million km (900 million miles) from Earth. The launch was so accurate that Webb should have sufficient propellant to perform science operations for much longer than its planned 10-year lifetime.

There was a collective sigh of relief among the European, American and Canadian scientists and engineers involved in the long-delayed program. It was a superb Christmas gift to a world suffering through the second year of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

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NOAA Contracts with Planet to Gain Situational Awareness of Oil Spills, Marine Debris, and Marine Life

SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PBC PR)Planet Labs PBC (NYSE: PL), a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced a new contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The organization is leveraging Planet’s PlanetScope and SkySat products to evaluate oil spills, track marine debris, detect vessels, and identify large marine mammals like whales.

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UK Space Companies Partner to Complete Development of Advanced Deployable SAR Antenna

Synthetic aperture radar antenna (Credit: Oxford Space Systems)

HARWELL, UK (Oxford Space Systems PR) — Oxford Space Systems (OSS) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have completed the build of an innovative deployable Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) antenna payload for the next generation of high-performance low-cost Earth Observation radar small satellite missions. The new SAR payload, which comprises of a highly stowage-efficient deployable antenna from OSS and a high bandwidth radar instrument and RF system from SSTL, has been exclusively designed in the UK, supported by a grant from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme. 

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BlackSky Wins $4.4 Million IARPA Contract to Provide Advanced Artificial Intelligence for Space-Based Dynamic Monitoring

Company’s unique Spectra AI machine-learning platform accelerates application of SMART technologies for automated recognition of strategic activity and change

HERNDON, Va. (BlackSky Technology Inc. PR) — BlackSky Technology Inc. (NYSE: BKSY) received a $4.4 million award from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to support the second phase of the multi-year Space-based Machine Automated Recognition Technique (SMART) Program.

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Following the Success of the Inaugural flight, Arianespace to Start Operations of Vega C with Seven Launchers Already Sold

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Following the success of its inaugural flight, Vega C will now begin its operational phase, under the responsibility of Arianespace, with a target of at least four launches per year and a fast-growing backlog that already includes 7 launches and 10 auxiliary payloads.
  • Vega C is an upgrade to the Vega launcher and can better answer institutional and commercial customers’ needs. Thanks to its increased capabilities, Vega C will serve the burgeoning Earth observation market as well as long-term institutional and commercial needs.
  • The first commercial launch of Vega C is scheduled in November 2022. The flight, designated VV22, will deliver Pléiades Neo 5 and 6, a pair of satellites wholly funded, manufactured and operated by Airbus.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — On Wednesday, July 13 at 10:13 am local time in Kourou, French Guiana, the first Vega C, the new European launcher designed and manufactured by AVIO, was successfully launched under the supervision of ESA from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

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Planet Signs Contract to Provide German Federal Agencies With Daily Satellite Imagery

Applications range from crisis management, civil and public safety support to environmental and nature conservation as well as forest and agricultural monitoring

BERLIN & SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PBC PR) — Planet Labs PBC, a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Planet Labs Germany GmbH, has signed a new contract with the German Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) to provide the agency with daily, high-resolution satellite data for crisis response, environmental and nature conservation, as well as forest and agricultural monitoring. Access to Planet’s satellite data will help the BKG promote public and civil safety throughout the Federal Republic of Germany. The collaboration was launched in November 2021 and is now being expanded following a successful trial period.

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TurbineHub and Planet Labs PBC Partner to Provide US Wind Energy Insights for the Asset and Investment Management Communities

VAIL, Colo. (TurbineHub PR) — TurbineHub‘s United States, wind-energy-focused data and geospatial SaaS, today announced the availability of Planet Labs PBC’s (Planet /NYSE: PL) medium resolution satellite data through TurbineHub’s service. Planet is a leading provider of global, near-daily satellite imagery and geospatial solutions. Through TurbineHub’s imagery analysis service, developers can access Planet’s satellite imagery to better inform their wind energy investment decisions.

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Sierra Space Partners with Turkish Space Agency and ESEN Sistem Entegrasyon on Low-Earth Orbit, Lunar and Astronaut Programs

Habitat rendering (Credit: SNC)

LOUISVILLE, Colo., June 29, 2022 (Sierra Space PR) – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company at the forefront of creating and building the future of space transportation and infrastructure for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization, the Turkish Space Agency and ESEN Sistem Entegrasyon (ESEN) announced today the signing of a new Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC). The three parties will combine efforts on Sierra’s Space’s low-Earth orbit, lunar and astronaut programs.

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Contract Secures Design for ESA’s FORUM Satellite

FORUM, ESA’s nineth Earth Explorer mission, will improve confidence in the accuracy of climate change assessments that form the basis for future policy decisions. (Credit: Airbus)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA has awarded a contract worth €160 million [$168.5 million] to Airbus in the UK to build the Earth Explorer FORUM satellite. This exciting new mission will yield unique insight into the planet’s radiation budget and how it is controlled – thereby filling in a critical missing piece of the climate jigsaw.

Short for Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring, FORUM is ESA’s ninth Earth Explorer mission.

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Thales Alenia Space Reaches Major Milestone in CRISTAL Mission Development for Europe’s Copernicus Earth Observation Program

Contract amendment signed for development and qualification of the IRIS radar altimeter

CANNES, France, June 27, 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), today signed an amendment to the CRISTAL contract with Airbus Defence and Space, prime contractor for the satellite. The amendment provides for the development and qualification of IRIS, the Interferometric Radar Altimeter for Ice and Snow to be carried on the Copernicus polaR Ice and Snow Topography ALtimeter (CRISTAL) mission. CRISTAL is part of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Expansion program, in partnership with the European Commission. Copernicus is a European flagship program providing Earth observation and in situ data, along with a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring and natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life for all European citizens.

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