March 6, 2018 brought an announcement about the BlackSky satellite from Spaceflight Industries. The Blacksky device is described as an operational satellite and is meant to be one of four satellites used in the BlackSky Earth imaging constellation. All four are planned to be launched within one year. The big news has to do with its readiness for launch. Launch details are still under wraps, however, it is known that a variety of vehicles are planned for use for this launch and the future BlackSky sendoffs. Domestic and foreign vehicles have been included in the mission plans. We won’t have to wait long, as the launch is scheduled to take place later this year.
These imaging satellites operate at a one meter resolution and weigh in at 55-kilograms.Their structure takes inspiration from a previous demonstration model satellite called the Pathfinder. The Pathfinder had a relatively recent launch in the fall of 2016. A unique quality of the satellite is that it is able to supply users with images from other satellites, as well. This gives the customer base a larger imaging supply to choose from.
Spaceflight Industries continues to look to the future for the BlackSky operation. They are focusing on high-resolution imagery satellites that are all a part of their own constellation. Money saving access is a main objective. Cost is often a counter to large-scale goals. Spaceflight mentions its continuing dedication to making pricing less of an issue. In order to keep reaching for future accomplishments, Spaceflight has chosen to join forces with two different companies, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio. This plan should help to keep the construction of the satellite constellation on track. The partnership also includes future endeavors, specifically global smallsats.
With the launch of the first four satellites planned for the following year, it may seem too soon to think of adding more. BlackSky, however, is one step ahead and they are moving at full speed. Twenty more satellites are planned to be launched by the year 2020. The expected monetary gain from these satellites is predicted to be enough to continue funding the constellation. The BlackSky project shows no signs of stopping and is proving to be a cooperative business endeavor with other companies. The 2018 launch signals the beginning of an enormous project with a high profit margin, all while attempting to find cost-efficient possibilities for customers.