Washington, D.C 13 March 2018 17:00
Parties will deploy the high revisit rate BlackSky constellation
At the Satellite 2018 conference, The Space Alliance formed by Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) and Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%) announced today it has officially taken a minority stake in Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, having received all government approvals for the transaction.
This investment is part of an overall fundraising effort of $150 million from several sources which include The Space Alliance, existing investors, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., one of the largest general trading companies in Japan. With this latest funding, Spaceflight Industries has raised more than $200 million in total capital. As part of this investment, the Space Alliance will appoint Pete Roney, Managing Director of Thales xPlor and Vice President of Innovation at Thales Group in the United States, to the Spaceflight Industries’ Board of Directors.
BlackSky, the geospatial intelligence company of Spaceflight Industries, is now fulfilling its vision to deploy a high revisit rate earth imaging constellation which, when combined with other space and terrestrial based sensors, will enable delivery of innovative global monitoring solutions and geospatial activity-based intelligence products and services. BlackSky’s first four Global next-generation satellites are slated to launch in the next 12 months. This round of funding ensures production and launch of an additional 20 Global satellites which are planned to be in orbit by 2020. These smallsats will generate revenues that will enable the production and launch of the full 60 satellite constellation.
In conjunction with the investment, Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries are creating a Seattle-based industrial joint venture (owned 50% by Spaceflight Industries and 50% by Thales Alenia Space) which will be responsible for manufacturing cost-effective, high-performance small satellites at scale, including the 20 satellites for the BlackSky constellation. The new company, named LeoStella LLC, will start operation this year. It will provide a unique capability for the US market as well as the fast growing low earth orbit constellations. The executive team is being formed from both Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space, as well as other leading organizations.
Finally, BlackSky and Telespazio have signed a joint cooperation and marketing agreement to distribute each other’s products and services, as well as co-develop, brand, and market unique applications and services. Under the agreement, Telespazio will sell BlackSky products and services within Europe to key government customers.