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Satellite Communications Technology

Capella Space ramping up production with Blue Canyon Technologies' Attitude Control Systems

(30 April 2019 - Blue Canyon Technologies) Capella Space, an information services company providing Earth observation data on demand, will provision the first phase of its small satellite constellation with industry-leading attitude control systems from Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT), a turnkey provider of spacecraft and subsystems for government, commercial, and academic applications.

BCT will deliver the first batch of systems later this year, with full delivery of 12 precision pointing platforms built on the company's FleXcore product by mid-2020.

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A rendering of what Capella’s space radar will look like in action. (courtesy: Capella Space)

"The race to rapid revisit is on," says Payam Banazadeh, CEO and founder of Capella Space. "The next generation of satellite we put up will be among the most agile in low-Earth orbit, capable of a range of operating modes and ground resolutions that will make a big difference in the quality and quantity of data we can provide our customers. As we scale from building a single satellite at a time to producing an entire fleet in short order, BCT offers a superior combination of performance, scale and affordability to pull forward our launch schedule. They're a key partner to help us meet surging customer demand for space observation at the push of a button."

After the success of its first satellite, Denali, which served as a test bed for calibrating on-orbit operations, Capella is enhancing the design of its satellite to offer higher resolution and greater flexibility in image acquisition. The Whitney constellation, which will begin deployment in 2020, will feature 0.5-meter resolution at significantly lower cost than traditional systems. Whitney is the first phase of the company's build-out of a 36-satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation, capable of revisiting any point on Earth within an hour.

Blue Canyon's FleXcore system is a high-performance, cost-efficient modular ADCS platform that's scalable to a wide range of bus sizes and mission requirements. BCT's ADCS Systems have flown on a variety of small satellites, including micro-sat spacecraft, and was first put on-orbit in 2016. FleXcore offers customers flexible mission solutions by using standard commercial products in the BCT component line to achieve unique mission requirements.

"BCT is proud to offer the ability for Capella to grow its constellation using our commercial FleXcore product line," states BCT's FleXcore Product Line Lead, Matthew Pallas.

While terms of the contract were not disclosed, Banazadeh indicated that Capella has other orders pending and that the company is hiring a range of engineering positions to help the company meet a larger than anticipated demand for data and monitoring services.

"The market is beginning to understand what remote sensing offers, with timelier, more reliable and better quality data," said Banazadeh. "We've gained invaluable insights from our customers across traditional and new markets and are developing a generation of satellites specifically designed to meet the demand."

BCT will execute the order from the company's 54,000 square foot facility in Boulder, CO, adding Capella to the company's list of over 60 missions on-orbit supported by the best-in-class systems. BCT is expected to begin shipping finished systems the fall of 2019. Capella will launch Sequoia, its first imaging mission, for advance bookings, later this year.

About Capella Space

Capella Space is an aerospace and information services company that provides Earth observation on demand. Through a constellation of micro-satellites, Capella is democratizing access to timely and reliable information affecting dozens of industries. Capella's synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites are faster to build than traditional satellite systems, cheaper to deploy, and optimized to deliver comprehensive global coverage and insight to improve patterns of commerce, conservation, and well-being on Earth.

About Blue Canyon Technologies

Blue Canyon Technologies, Inc. is a privately-held business founded in 2008 to bring high-performance, affordable solutions to space missions. The company is an innovative, experienced integrator of aerospace systems and developer of advanced aerospace products and technologies.