Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries’ first BlackSky satellite was placed in orbit and established communications with the company. It’s a demonstrator for a planned 60-satellite constellation intended to deliver high-resolution digital photos of earth at low cost.
An Indian government launch rocket carried into orbit Sunday the first BlackSky satellite from Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries.
The satellite is a demonstrator for the planned 60-satellite BlackSky constellation that is intended to take high-resolution digital photos of earth at low cost.
The Pathfinder-1 satellite, approximately the size of a mini-refrigerator and weighing 110 pounds, soared into orbit from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center.
Spaceflight chief executive Jason Andrews said Monday the satellite “will provide us critical insight into how our early architecture performs from space so we can continue to improve and expand upon our technology.”
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The Spaceflight launch team in Seattle confirmed successful signal contact after the satellite separated from the rocket, and on Monday was monitoring communications with the craft from its operations center.
The BlackSky constellation aims to provide near real-time images of anywhere on earth in about 90 minutes for approximately $90 per image, and with fresh images hourly of areas of interest.
A second Pathfinder demonstrator is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, once that company’s launches are back on track following a rocket failure earlier this month.
The first three commercially operational BlackSky satellites are scheduled for launch in 2017, with the complete constellation on orbit by 2020.