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Global 15

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 2021-106B

Description

BlackSky, with offices in Seattle and Herndon, Virginia, is deploying a fleet of small remote sensing satellites to provide high-resolution Earth imagery to commercial and government clients.

One big customer for BlackSky is the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. BlackSky has agreements to sell commercial imagery to NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

BlackSky’s satellites are built by LeoStella, a joint venture between Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space, a major European satellite manufacturer. LeoStella’s production facility is located in Tukwila, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.

Rocket Lab and BlackSky announced an agreement earlier this year for five Electron launches to carry the next nine BlackSky satellites into orbit.

The first launch in the multi-mission contract successfully deployed a single BlackSky payload into orbit in March. The second of the five missions in May failed before reaching orbit due to a malfunction in the Electron rocket’s second stage. The two BlackSky satellites on-board crashed back to Earth, a loss the company valued at $18.4 million, including the spacecraft and launch services.

Wednesday’s flight marked the third mission under the multi-launch agreement. The next two missions will complete the five-launch contract between Rocket Lab and BlackSky. Spaceflight, a Seattle-based rideshare company, brokered the launch agreement for BlackSky.

Including the two spacecraft deployed Wednesday, nine BlackSky satellites have successfully launched since 2018, following a 2016 launch that deployed a technology demonstration satellite for the company. BlackSky said earlier this month it has six satellites in commercial operations.

Alternate Names

  • 49470
  • Global15

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2021-11-18
Launch Vehicle: Electron
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Mass: 56 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)

Discipline

  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

 
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