BlackSky completes critical on-orbit milestones with Global-1 and -2 satellites
(9 April 2019 - BlackSky) BlackSky has announced it has successfully achieved several significant on-orbit milestones of its first two Earth-imaging spacecraft, Global-1 and -2.
“We’ve completed our mission performance validation scenarios, successfully calibrated the systems, and conducted extensive testing of the smallsats and end-to-end mission operations,” said Nick Merski, vice president of space operations at BlackSky. “These images from Global-1 and Global-2, our first-generation spacecraft, validate our ability to task, capture, and process high-quality images. The response from many of our early customers has been extremely positive and we’re excited to share these images with a wider audience.”
The satellites, which were developed, designed, and manufactured by BlackSky, provide 1-meter resolution color imagery with 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. The smallsats are used in conjunction with the BlackSky platform and ground architecture; together they serve as the nucleus of the company’s commercial offering which will help organizations detect changes and threats around the world.
The first time-series stack highlights BlackSky site monitoring over Melbourne, Australia in the last week of March 2019. Shipping traffic is visible at Swanson Dock East along with crane, container, truck, and train activity through the region in the northwest quadrant of the image. Vessels move along the Yarra River, vehicles drive along the M1 and M2, and trains are seen arriving and departing from Southern Cross Station. In the Docklands neighborhood, west of Melbourne’s Central Business District, Marvel Stadium rises over Central Pier and the waterfront. Skyscrapers, parks and construction in the Central Business District are visible to the east. Parking patterns, traffic conditions and train locations quickly reveal the first image in the time-series stack as a weekend collection. This is a pre-production time-series image stack that is downsampled and compressed and not fully representative of BlackSky imagery product quality. (courtesy: BlackSky Global)
“In addition to these on-orbit milestones, we have fully integrated our constellation with our global intelligence platform which now puts us on track to deliver unique imaging and analytic solutions to our customers,” added Brian O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “BlackSky is delivering on the promise of how the economics of high-performance smallsat constellations will enable a new era of global intelligence. With these milestones complete, we’re looking forward to commercial availability later this spring.”
Global-1 was launched Nov. 28, 2018 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Center aboard a PSLV launch vehicle. Global-2 was launched the following week on Dec. 3, 2018 on Spaceflight’s SSO-A mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The company is on track to launch Global-3 and Global-4 in the coming months and plans to launch up to six more satellites later this year.
Merski added, “With eight satellites on orbit by the end of this year, we expect to deliver more than five revisits a day over many sites of interest; by 2020, with more than 16 smallsats on orbit, that will double and provide hourly monitoring. That’s a profound transformation for the market.”
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